Smash­ing bar­ri­ers

Shepparton News - Country News - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR -

Queens­land re­searchers are de­vel­op­ing world-first plant pro­duc­tion tech­niques that would dra­mat­i­cally boost the num­ber of avo­cado trees and po­ten­tially solve a world short­age.

Sin­gle avo­cado tree cut­tings are be­ing used to grow 500 new plants in eight to 10 months un­der a growth tech­nique cre­ated by University of Queens­land’s Al­liance for Agri­cul­ture and Food In­no­va­tion.

Neena Mit­ter said the devel­op­ment was a huge step up from cur­rent pro­duc­tion, which sees one plant tak­ing up to 12 to 18 months to grow.

‘‘There are Queens­land farm­ers who want to ex­pand their avo­cado or­chards, and en­trepreneurs who want to en­ter the avo­cado farm­ing in­dus­try, but they can­not get source plants to grow be­cause of a global short­age of trees,’’ Pro­fes­sor Mit­ter said.

Queens­land’s an­nual avo­cado crop is worth $460 mil­lion and equates to half of Aus­tralia’s over­all pro­duc­tion.

In­no­va­tion Min­is­ter Leeanne Enoch said the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment had awarded re­searchers a $636 000 grant to trial the tech­nol­ogy in ar­eas in­clud­ing Tully and Bund­aberg.

If suc­cess­ful it would end a short­age of high-qual­ity plants, an is­sue that was crip­pling in­dus­try ex­pan­sion, and al­low farm­ers to dou­ble pro­duc­tion to 70 000 tonnes a year.

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