Raising strawberries can be a very difficult exercise. For one, these plants would need special care and equipment in order to bloom and bear fruit. Even getting the fruits to ripen can also be a tricky business. Transportation can also be a nightmare, too, since strawberries are pretty easy to bruise during transport. Damaged strawberries don’t sell well in the market. And that’s not all. Strawberries have a short shelf-life, so raisers would have to get their produce to the market fast. All these factors have a great effect on the supply of strawberries in the market, as well as the price in which they’re sold.
Still, people do want to buy them. Who could resist the sweet, succulent flavor of strawberries, eaten on their own or dipped in cream? I’m sure no one can. That’s why despite the relatively high price tag attached to that pack of strawberries, it’s still an in-demand item in the supermarkets. If only there’s a way to increase production of this wonderful fruit, and at the same time improving its shelf life and transportation qualities. We’d certainly want to have something nice, right? Too bad the traditional breeding methods are pretty slow to deal with it, and by the time one issue is solved, another big one comes in. Well, that’s how things go. Better live with it.
That won’t exactly be the case anymore. Scientists around the world has recently completed the gene map of the common strawberry, and it’s hoped that the information it reveals can help in developing better varieties that can stand against the tests of growing, harvesting, and marketing. Of course, that would be treated quite carefully, since consumers like us don’t want to hear that our beloved strawberries have become the recent recipients of genetic modification. That would be a very unthinkable event. Personally, I don’t even want to think about it, anymore.
Over the years, strawberries have increased in price. Back in 1996, about 300 grams of strawberries would fetch for a little over$1.50 during the chilly February weather. But that’s 2006. But last 2009, the same weight of strawberries can cost you almost $2.50. That much change over the years only shows just how much the production of strawberries have affected the way we buy them. Since they’re relatively more expensive now, some customers now shift to other fruits. It’s too bad since there is nothing to compare the exquisite flavor of that single red fruit. I’m sure there are some of us wishing for the return of the good old times.
It might happen, if the plans of the scientists push through. With the help of the now complete genome map, they would then be able to choose which plant variety has the traits favored by the market. This would result to improvements in strawberry production that is not easily obtained using the traditional methods. The old method would ask for more time and effort on the part of the raisers who want better crops. With the suggested new method, then we can finally get good strawberries, fast.
The only challenge that remains would be the customer’s perception. The scientists doing the genome mapping had a hard time because strawberry raisers wouldn’t fund them. The fear of getting a PR nightmare is probable too much for the farmers to take if people so much as get a whiff of suspicion that there’s going to be some genetic modification happening to their plants. It’s a pretty tough wall to breach, but it’s got to be passed. There are many of us who want to enjoy our strawberries, and getting them cheap, fast, and at the peak of ripeness is a dream many of us want.