Western Australian avocados will feature in the second stage of a national research project on managing supply chain risks to deliver more consistent, better quality fruit that satisfies customer requirements, minimises waste and captures market advantages.
The three and a half year Serviced Supply Chains II project has overarching funding from Hort Innovation and is led by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Queensland, alongside several commercial and State Government partners.
Simulation trials have commenced at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s (DPIRD’s) Manjimup Research Facility to test the performance of Hass avocados under different environmental conditions.
DPIRD fruit and perennial crops program lead Dario Stefanelli said the simulations would help to develop a ‘tool kit’ that minimises risks and optimises fruit quality through the supply chain – from the orchard to the retail shelf.
“The initial controlled simulations are evaluating the influence of different temperatures and storage length on fruit quality, fruit ripening and shelf life,” Dr Stefanelli said.
“Larger simulations, which will include a wider range of temperatures, will get underway soon and will evaluate more than 30 cartons at time – assessing over 600 individual avocados – for shelf life and fruit quality.”
The outcomes from the simulations will inform later product quality and handling trials of air and sea freight consignments of avocados from WA and Queensland to key export markets in Asia.
A survey network of supply chain participants, including importers, will assess and provide feedback to help identify risks to product quality and develop solutions.
“It can take up to 50 days for WA avocados to reach export destinations in Japan and Singapore, which leaves the fruit exposed to a number of risks to product quality,” Dr Stefanelli said.
“The project will help identify pressure points through the supply chain to make sure the best quality product arrives at its destination.
“This starts in the orchard, identifying when best to harvest so fruit ripens at the right time for the customer, through to handing practices during transportation and storage.
“The end result will be a set of guidelines for harvest and post harvest practices that improve the consistency, quality, shelf life and value of the fruit – delivering safe, premium quality Australian avocados that satisfies customer requirements.”
The wide-raging project includes research by other States and commercial partners on mango, nectarine, peach, plum, strawberry and vegetables, such as asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, celery and lettuce production.
The Serviced Supply Chains II project partners include Hort Innovation, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Queensland, Agriculture Victoria, the Northern Territory Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia. The project has co-investment from Piñata Farms, AUSVEG and Summerfruit Australia.
This project is being delivered through Hort Innovation’s Hort Frontiers strategic partnership initiative. Hort Frontiers facilitates collaborative, transformation research and development to support horticulture to 2030, and beyond.
Megan Broad/Jodie Thomson, media liaison
+61 (0)8 9368 3937