Agroscope & VariCom


Customised apples for consumers and producers? 30.000 seedlings for one apple? Forschungsanstalt Agroscope breeds new apple varieties, and pears and apricots, too.


It takes up to 20 year to breed a new apple variety.


There are various expectations to fulfil. Consumers want a crunchy, juicy, aromatic apple with a long shelf life; producers want good and regular yields and an apple that is disease and pest-resistant.

Breeding is a demanding, incremental process:

  • Definition of forward-looking, promising breeding targets (hybridisation parents) 
  • Pollination of 10.000 flowers of the mother variety with the father variety's pollen p.a. 
  • Removal of about 10.000 apple seeds from the hybridisation fruits in autumn 
  • Sowing the removed seeds in spring; in theory, every seed is a new variety 
  • Strict selection of the new fruits by disease suspectibility, growth properties and fruit quality in the course of a number of years 
  • Storage tests, consumer and sales tests to evaluate its market potential

After 15 to 20 years, one out of approx. 30.000 seedlings crosses the finishing line and is baptised as a new variety. To identify genetic properties, Agroscope uses state-of-the-art molecular methods. No genetic transfer is made. 

Old varieties are also used, since they often have valuable properties in the field of disease resistance, colour or taste nuances. 

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VariCom GmbH has the objective to launch interesting fruit varieties from the Agroscope breeding programme in both Switzerland and internationally and, of course, successfully. 

The four partners

  • Konsortium Südtiroler Baumschuler Gen.landw.Ges. (Italy)
  • Mondial Fruit Selection Sarl (France)
  • ARTEVOS GmbH (Germany)
  • webfruit GmbH (Germany). 

The company's managing director is Michael Weber. 

VariCom GmbH coordinates the entire supply and demand chain, from plant propagation and technical information for producers and traders to tastings and PR. Under the VariCom umbrella, we find the licensed partners to utilise a variety's potential and employ modern marketing measures to give it its big break.