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Clonal Trees Help Meet Demand for Avocados

Clonal Trees Help Meet Demand for Avocados

2022-01-21

Australian technology is rethinking the avocado business at a nursery in the distant regions of Northern NSW. Scientists have been collaborating with the Anderson Horticulture nursery and many other avocado farmers for the past six years to develop tissue-culture-based avocado clonal plants. The nursery has now been awarded almost $400,000 to assist them to commercialise their product and grow avocados in larger quantities. If farmers have healthier trees, higher yields, and better fruit quality, then there will be more fruit on the market, which will certainly bring the price down,” The grant will be used to help farmers start and grow this new section of the business, hothouse construction. Now, everything has to be done on a large scale.

The study initiative was first established in 2013 by a team led by Neena Mitter at the University of Queensland, followed by trials conducted across Australia. “We were able to provide the proof of concept that yes, the technique works, yes, we can do avocado cloning and generate plants,” Professor Mitter said, adding that the method will produce a commercial quantity of avocado clonal plants by 2023. The technology was developed in response to the challenges of cultivating avocados on a large scale, and it will assist meet the growing demand for avocados.

Demand for Avocados

As demand soars, sourcing avocados remains a challenge for the avocado industry due to the regional nature of cultivation, the Rabobank report notes. Mexico is the main provider of avocados to the U.S. market, with Peru and California also among the biggest in the world. California will have a slightly lighter avocado crop this year compared to recent years, according to Rabobank. This could create supply challenges when California and Peru’s crop seasons end and Mexico transitions to a new season.

According to Rabobank research, monthly avocado shipments to the United States reached a new high of approximately 320 million pounds in January 2021, marking a 33 percent year-over-year rise. Demand is increasing all year, with exports up 20% in March 2021 compared to the same month in 2020. While Rabobank does not expect prices to hit the same levels as 2019, it anticipates average avocado prices to remain higher than in 2020. The report estimates shipments for 2021 and 2022 to be up 12% compared to the three-year average for 2018 to 2020. 

Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)