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Project ID: 718254


Reporting period: 2016-04-01 to 2016-09-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

LAIMUND has identified the market for pistachio plants as a new, profitable alternative and the core element for the company´s growing and diversification strategy for the following years.

Pistachio plant cultivation represents a promising opportunity for European farmers, especially in the Mediterranean area where a native rootstock facilitates crop acclimation in arid areas with poor and dry soils. Due to the low probability of fungal diseases and reduced number of pests which require few phytosanitary treatments in spring or early summer the crop management is considered as easy. These characteristics make the pistachio tree a competitive and suitable option for a sustainable cultivation in environmentally respectful methods of production.

LAIMUND will commercialize within a period of 2.5 years (2018) Pistacia vera varieties produced in axenic conditions and grafted applying the mini-graft technique onto Pistacia terebinthus plants which were selected for uniformity, vigour and germination. This new approach will lead to a reduction of time to reach production in the field between 1 and 2 years.

The overall objective of LAIMUND is to become worldwide leader in commercializing pistachio plants adapted to Mediterranean climates which can be grown organically. The specifically related objectives are:

1. Establishment of a collection of mother plants consisting in rootstock trees selected for high germination and being able to offer them to growers directly or selling their seeds for planting.

2. Establishment of an in-vitro rootstock collection (Pistacia terebinthus) in order to attend the existing markets.

3. Produce in-vitro female and male varieties required by the market, offering younger plants that allow an early mini-graft or graft.

4. Thanks to the experience in grafting and the seed production capacity at LAIMUND, the company will be able to offer all kind of plants and the mini-grafts.

5. Design a global commercialization and dissemination plan to allocate the new products in the European market. After the first phase of commercialization the company will launch commercial activities in other Non-EU countries within the Mediterranean area.

6. Aligned with the final market survey LAIMUND has designed an economical and investment feasibility study including all activities at technical and commercial level in order to maximize the success of EUROPISTACIA.

To achieve those general objectives, LAIMUND has worked in a wide feasibility study, which includes Technical, Commercial, Productive and Economical parameters. During this Phase I, the Company has analyzed and studied the technical, legal and industrial parameters, to elucidate the best commercialization and marketing strategy for EUROPISTACIA (name that has been given to the new range of plants), in order to prepare for EU’s market, and evaluate reaching non-EU countries’ market.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

During the Phase I, a technical viability/feasibility study was carried out by LAIMUND. This study has the objective to reveal the methods that will be used to obtain the different products and their improvements. In addition, the content of a technological forecast with detailed information about the state of the art in research, legal issues like patents and licenses provided by the public agency IDEA will be discussed.

Using this approach, the technical study combines the conclusions about the technical and product-related aspects of the new business line, EUROPISTACIA, and offers a viability study which takes possible technological restraints hampering its realization and up-scaling to a semi-industrial level during phase II in account.

In order to guarantee an appropriate evaluation and selection of the best germinating material a contractual cooperation with the IFAPA of Churriana will be arranged simultaneously. Given that the research group has more than eight years of experience in this field and is familiar with the methodology for assessing the germination rate and plant vigour of pistachio trees, this collaboration is essential for the success of the Project.

As the extent of the project implies working with a new plant species whose production has to be acquired and integrated in the existing processes, the technical feasibility of all related aspects must be assured.

The results of phase I of the project EUROPISTACIA are promising and confirm the technical viability of the production process as proposed by LAIMUND. Closing this memorandum, the main conclusions are presented as follows:

1. In February 2017 a plantation of P. terebinthus will be realized.

2. The conclusions related to the in vitro propagation of P. terebinthus are auspicios.

3. It was possible to establish a in vitro stock of parent material.

4. By testing different substrates, plant trays and cultivation conditions it was possible to improve the survival rate during the acclimatization process and reach a satisfactory/profitable percentage. These results indicate that LAIMUND has the required installations and a trained staff.

5. In order to have the best protocol for phase II, at hand further experiments to find the most efficient methodology are needed.

6. With the two partners Pistachos de Sol and the IFAPA it was possible to form a strong consortium and find associates which assure the viability of the Project.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

"There is a growing commercial interest in the pistachio at an international level, mainly for direct consumption and as an ingredient of the agri-food industry, but also for other uses; supported in the product properties (healthy nature, easy adaptation to different types of presentation, combination and consumption) and on aspirational factors in countries and/or layers of the population that until recently they did not know or did not consider this ingredient.

Countries such as Spain, Italy or Portugal, in Europe; are called to play a relevant role, providing good opportunities for producers and manufacturers with increased product quality and flexibility. The selling price of the pistachio in Spain has grown steadily until the 5.5 to 6.0 €/kg, a cumulative increase of between 12% and 15% since 2010; and even reaches the 12€/kg for exports. It is believed that the price will tend to stabilise, but not to fall, at least not significantly.

The implementation of a business project focused on the supply of plant for both Spain and exporting is considered feasible and timely (necessary, for others), as this is supported by an evident and current marketing reality, and with a stable horizon at worst, when turning to the more conservative forecasts. Approximately 75% - 80% of the plants that are sold are without graft, but it is considered that this trend will gradually be reversed. The price of a plant without grafting ranges between 60 cents and 1'5 euros, while the price of a grafted plant varies between 14 to 17 euros (price of "bare root" grafted plant) and 30/35 euros (if it is a top quality graft). Convenience (suitability and price) and confidence (effectiveness and service) are attributes that the project must include in order to respond to the national and international market expectations.

Based on the Feasibility Economic Study, LAIMUND would increase its Turnover in 18%, after 4 years from the start of the sales, and would also increment staff at least in 6-10 people in that period. The study has demonstrated the profitability of EUROPISTACIA Business Idea even in the Basic Hypothesis, which is defined as the most conservative scenario and criteria, reaching 58,2% IRR without the SME INSTRUMENT E.U. Grant, and it grows up to 69,9% IRR when considering such public fund.

Combining the introduction of P. terebinthus and P. vera to in vitro conditions, its efficient multiplication and successful acclimatization following the regulations for an ecological production during phase I contains several technological innovations which according to the study realized by the agency IDEA results in a novel product. Assuming the development of an efficient protocol for grafting plants prematurely, their improved traits will offer a series of additional benefits to the growers. As exposed, Laimund unifies important requisites like the needed know-how, trained workforce, fitting installations and adequate associates necessary for putting the project in practice. According to the market research realized during phase I, the three different products of EUROPISTACIA with their added value are suitable to meet the expectations of the business plan developed simultaneously."

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