Western Australian avocados will feature in the 2nd part of a nationwide research initiative to manage risk in the supply chain to produce higher quality, more consistent fruit that meets the needs of customers reduces waste, and helps to capture competitive advantages in the marketplace.

The three-and-a-half year Serviced Supply Chains II Project receives overarching financing through Hort Innovation and is led by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Queensland in conjunction with several commercial as well as State Government partners.

The simulation trials have begun in the department of primary industries and regional development’s (DPIRD’s) Manjimup Research Facility for testing the efficiency of Hass avocados in various environments.

DPIRD the perennial and fruit crops lead Dario Stefanelli has said that these simulations could help design a tool kit which reduces risk and improves the quality of fruit throughout the supply chain, starting from the orchard and ending at the shelf at retail.

“The first controlled simulations will be evaluating the effects of various temperatures and the length of storage on quality maturing, shelf-life,” Dr. Stefanelli declared.

“Larger simulations, that will cover a greater variety of temperatures, will be in the pipeline soon. They will examine more than 30 boxes in a row – including more than 600 avocados in total – on the shelf-life and quality of the fruit.”

Simulation results will be used to inform future product testing on handling and quality of sea and air freight cargoes of avocados coming from WA as well as Queensland to major trade markets for avocados exported to Asia.

An online survey of suppliers, which includes importers, will review and offer feedback in order to determine the quality of products at risk and to develop solutions.

“It may take between 30 and 50 days to allow WA avocados to make it to the export markets of Japan as well as Singapore and exposes the fruit to numerous dangers to the quality of its product,” Dr Stefanelli said.

“The project will assist in identifying sources of stress in the supply chain in order to make certain that the highest top quality product is delivered to the right place at.

“This begins at the orchard and determining when it is the best time to pick fruit so that it matures in the best timing for the client from handing techniques throughout storage and transport.

“The ultimate result is a set of harvest guidelines as well as post harvest procedures to improve stability, quality as well as shelf-life and value of the avocados – providing high-quality, safe Australian avocados that satisfy the needs of customers.”

This vast-ranging project encompasses research from other States as well as commercial partners in mango fruit, nectarine plum, strawberry, and other vegetables like broccoli, asparagus the cauliflower, celery, as well as the cultivation of lettuce.

Its Serviced Supply Chains II project collaborators are Hort Innovation, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Queensland, Agriculture Victoria, the Northern Territory Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade as well as Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia. The project also has a co-investment with Pinata Farms, AUSVEG and Summerfruit Australia.

The project is delivered by Hort Innovation’s Hort Frontiers strategic partnership program. Hort Frontiers allows collaborative change research and development in order to assist horticulture up to 2030 and beyond.

For more information: wa.gov.au