Peaches grown in France have a reputation for top quality – big, tasty, healthy fruit with a relatively long shelf life. To deliver this quality, La Melba and Bayer CropScience entered a Food Chain Partnership aimed at testing a new solution for growing and protecting peaches. The French Peach Project brings together these two partners to demonstrate that Luna®, an innovative new crop protection product from Bayer CropScience, can deliver increased fruit quality, prolong shelf life, and significantly reduce waste. A secondary goal of this program was to evaluate the economic benefits of a Luna®-based spraying program along the food value chain.
La Melba, Bayer Crop Science France
The use of Luna® avoided tons of losses: for every 1,000 peaches harvested, the Luna® program saved 84 from decay or worse after 14 days of storage. The company estimates the economic value of the losses avoided by spraying with Luna® at around €3,000/hectare. This amount does not take into account the money the producer organization might have had to pay for the return shipment of damaged fruit. La Melba now sees these trials as a great opportunity to learn how to better manage post-harvest losses simply through field interventions. Estimates show that both the producer organization and the retailers benefit from the longer shelf life Luna® makes possible.
There is a knowledge gap on the need of reducing food waste and its general agronomic importance. Extended shelf-life after harvest poses few immediate direct benefits to peach growers, and disease-free peaches can be undervalued at harvest.