There was no much interest in fruit production on the area of east Croatia in the past. Fruit trees were placed mostly in the gardens around the houses without necessary agro and pomotechnical care. That production of fruits was not profitable and fruits were used for self-consumption.
The most important year in advancement of fruit production was 1947, when Mr. Josip Marinović founded the Osijek Fruit Nursery (todays Department of Fruit Production). It was the beginning of modern fruit production in this area. The experts of Osijek Fruit Nursery planted modern commercial orchard, introduced new varietes and rootstocks and established mother tree blocks which provided propagation material (grafts and rootstocks) for fruit plants production. There was established, for the fist time, the Book of Mother Plants which was describing varietes and rootstocks in nursery production. A few years after the Osijek Fruit Nursery was founded, the production of fruit plants reached over 400 000 peaces which were distributed all over the region of former Yugoslavia. The Osijek Fruit Nursery won the first prize on the First exibition of fruit plants in Croatia that was hold in the year of 1955.
The Osijek Fruit Nursery co-operated with scientific institutions such as Faculty Agriculture of Zagreb, Institute of Plant Protection in Zagreb, Institute of Fruit Production in Zagreb, etc. The co-operation of Osijek Fruit Nursery with above-mentioned institutions resulted in establishing experimental orchard, results of which were used in raising orchards like Borinci in Vinkovci and some school orchards in Velika Kopanica, Trnava, Donji Miholjac, etc. The Osijek Fruit Nursery initiated foundation of Society of Fruit and Grape Growers which provided fruit plants, pesticide and knowledge for successful, modern and profitable fruit production.
The Osijek Fruit Nursery was integrated into the Agricultural Institute Osijek in 1966. The experts of the Osijek Fruit Nursery planted new hectares of apples, pears, plums, cherry, sour cherry, peaches and other deciduous fruit trees. In the 1980s the orchard and nursery production involved the area of more than 150 hectares. During that time, there were many researching projects. One of the most famous project was that of pears mineral nutritition. There were established clonal selection and breeding programs of pears, apples, sour cherry and hazelnut. During the war in the early 1990s, the Osijek Fruit Nursery suffered a huge war demage. There was first line of defense of the City of Osijek. Today, 13 years latter, there are still a lot of mine fields. The Osijek Fruit Nursery changed its name into the Department of Fruit Production in the year of 1995.
The goal of this project is to grow 3 ha of new mother beds containing certified mother plants for the production of certified virus free fruit buds of the varieties of pome and stone fruit species: apples, pears, quinces, plums, apricots, peaches, nectarines, sour cherries, cherries, and almonds at the Agricultural Institute Osijek in Osijek.
Certified virus-free planting material is represented as a small part of the production of planting material in the Republic of Croatia and for that reason it was necessary to grow mother beds of higher categories. By growing new mother beds of the certified category, the sufficient number of virus free certified buds required by the plant nursery production in the Republic of Croatia will be ensured. The application of the latest agriculture engineering measures will ensure the sufficient amount and quality of the reproductive material, which is the basic condition for a stronger position of the plant nursery production in the Republic of Croatia and for ensuring the availability of high quality planting material for growing permanent crops in the Republic of Croatia, where investments in the pomology sector have been recognised as a strategic interest of the agricultural policy in the Republic of Croatia, through the measures for rural development. The following activities will be implemented as part of the project: selection of the plant material, establishing pre-basic mother plants, establishing and maintaining basic mother plants.
The realisation of the Plan for Improving the Quality of Mother Beds of Pome and Stone Fruit Species in the Republic of Croatia will ensure high genetic purity and health safety of the reproductive fruit planting materials of pome and stone fruit species, which is the condition for safe, sustainable, and competitive fruit growing production.
Expert team for the implementation of the project:
- Dr.sc. Zvonimir Zdunić, project leader
- Dominik Vuković, mag.ing.agr., associate
- Dr.sc. Vesna Tomaš, associate
- Dr.sc. Ines Mihaljević, associate
The basic activity of the Department of Pomology is scientific and research work, and the production of fruit tree seedlings, vegetative and generative rootstocks, and fruit buds. We were the first to introduce a certification scheme and EPPO standards in the production of planting material in Croatia. Today, we are offering CAC and virus-free certified planting material. In its production, the institute has basic and pre-basic planting material at its disposal to grow mother beds, and we are the only plant nursery in Croatia that has those categories available and has the right to multiply the reproduction material of protected varieties. Our planting material comes from our own mother beds and it is under constant supervision by experts.
The production of fruit tree seedlings is based on the latest production technologies and high quality standards, in order for it to be competitive in the domestic, but also in the international market. For that purpose, the Department has developed modern biotechnological methods for the production of fruit seedlings like
- meristem culture and micropropagation
- DNA identification
- biological, molecular, and serological testing methods for viruses
The scientific and research work, and the continuous creation of relationships with other scientific institutions during our 62 years in operation, have ensured the development of the fruit growing production and the transfer of the science of pomology into practice on the principles of competitive and sustainable agriculture. The employees of the Department of Pomology conduct a great amount of agricultural engineering and pomological research into individual species and varieties of fruit, and their relationship with the agro-ecological and pathological factors in this area, for the purpose of achieving more abundant, more regular, and safer yields, better fruit quality, more labour productiveness, and lower production costs.
On the date 03/12/2007, the Agricultural Institute Osijek became the exclusive representative for the reproduction material of the apple variety “GOLDEN DELICIOUS´ clone REINDERS®”, a protected variety and brand, on the basis of a signed Licence Agreement with the company Stichting Vermeerderingstuinen Nederland (Netherlands), represented by R.P.J.M. Koning LL.M. and Praktijkonderzoek Plant & Omgeving B.V. and H.E.P. Reinders. In addition, the Agricultural Institute Osijek has concluded a Licence Agreement for the apple variety “JONAGOLD DE COSTER variety DE COSTA®”, also with the abovementioned company. The latest licence agreement is for “RED JONAPRINCE WILTON´S®”.
We would like to point out that the Agricultural Institute Osijek is the only plant nursery in the Republic of Croatia with exclusive contracts for the production of reproductive fruit planting material.
Through its tradition, experience, knowledge, and quality, the Department of Pomology aims to increase and advance the pomology and plant nursery production which made the Department recognisable and why it is still recognisable in this part of Europe.