Horticulture

Smashing barriers

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September 10, 2017

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

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 $460million and equates to half of Australia’s overall production.

Innovation Minister Leeanne Enoch said the Queensland Government had awarded researchers a $636000 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 70000 tonnes a year.

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