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Dieter Wienberg at an event to mark 50 years of La Mayora. SUR
Dieter Wienberg: The German behind the Axarquía's fruit
Foreign influencers in southern Spain

Dieter Wienberg: The German behind the Axarquía's fruit

In 1961 La Mayora in Algarrobo exported its first strawberry and the German scientist also introduced avocados to the south of Spain

Jennie Rhodes

Algarrobo

Friday, 28 June 2024, 14:50

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The avenue and roundabout leading up to La Mayora research station in Algarrobo is named after the German researcher and scientist Dieter Wienberg, who was in charge of the station, now known as the Instituto de Hortofruticultura Subtropical y Mediterránea, from 1961 to 1975.

Wienberrg was born in Thuringia in Germany on 14 July 1929. He studied agriculture and economy at the universities of Gottingen, Bonn and Innsbruck from 1950.

He later travelled to Zaragoza thanks to a Hispano-German exchange grant from the Instituto Nacional de Colonización (a rural development agency set up by the Spanish ministry of agriculture) and in January 1955 he entered the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).

In 1961 Wienberg, together with Joachim Berger and professor Rafael Viñarás, published a paper on 'problems and possibilities of increasing the Spanish export of vegetables, fresh fruit and new potatoes', in which the idea of opening a research station on the Costa del Sol was proposed.

In the same year the Centro Experimental Económico-Agrario La Mayora in Algarrobo was created and financed by German development funds.

In 1961 La Mayora exported its first strawberry by plane and in 1962, under Wienberg's leadership, the first large-scale tomato production trials began in Almeria, also destined for export.

He also introduced a new crop that was largely unheard of in Spain at the time and which would go on to transform agriculture in Andalucía: the avocado.

On 23 May 2016 Wienberg was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Malaga and on 10 March 2017 Algarrobo town hall named the avenue after him. He was made a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering on 22 February 2023.

Wienberg died aged 94 on 18 December 2023 in the town of Baden-Baden in Germany.

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