Page last updated at 10:38 GMT, Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Climate change threat to berries

Soft fruit
The soft fruit industry is worth millions of pounds to Scotland's farmers

Scientists in Scotland have joined an international forum working to safeguard the future of the multi-million pound soft fruit industry.

They want to protect future production of fruit like raspberries and blackcurrants from climate change.

Raspberry production alone earns Scotland's farmers, many in the Tayside area, about £12m a year.

The Scottish Crop Research Institute near Dundee is also at the forefront of developing new varieties of fruit.

The Glen Ample raspberry, bred at the centre in Invergowrie, is the most popular in the UK.

The scientists are joining colleagues in a number of other northern European countries to ensure the soft fruit industry survives the challenges ahead, including climate change.

The international project will focus on reducing the use of chemicals, making production more environmentally friendly and increased production of fresh and processed soft fruits.

The research institute's lead scientist, Dr Derek Stewart, said it was a "huge boost" for the centre to be involved in the project.

"Our role in the ClimaFruit project is recognition that SCRI is the lead organisation in the UK for soft fruit research and breeding," he said.



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