At a nursery in the far reaches of Northern NSW, Australian technology is reimagining the avocado industry. For the past six years, scientists have been working with the Anderson Horticulture nursery and other avocado growers to produce tissue-culture-based avocado clonal plants.
Now the nursery has been awarded more than $400,000 to help commercialise their product, to grow avocados in bigger numbers.
Anderson Horticulture General Manager Daniel Abbey said: "If farmers have healthier trees, higher yields and better fruit quality, then there will be more fruit on the market which will obviously bring the price down. The grant will go towards us setting up and developing this new part of the business, the setting up of hothouses ... We've got to do it all on scale now.”
The research project was first set up in 2013 by a team at the University of Queensland led by Neena Mitter, before successful trials across Australia. "We were able to show the proof of concept that yes the technology works, yes we can do cloning of avocado and we can generate plants, the next stage is making it commercially viable," Professor Mitter said, adding that the technology will develop a commercial quantity of avocado clonal plants by 2023.
The need for the technology was recognized due to the difficulties growing avocados at scale, and will help service the increasing demand for avocados.