Australian avocados destined for export face a long and complex journey. To reduce waste and ensure their customers have the best eating experience, growers must ensure that the avocados they produce are robust enough to survive the trip.
Currently, avocados that arrive in overseas markets at various stages of ripeness can result in small but frequent claims and reduced returns for growers. For leading Australian producer Costa Avocado, reducing these claims could be worth an additional $1.6M in revenue from exports to Asia by 2025.
Costa and their ‘Lovacado’ brand need high-quality data from across their supply chain to decide where to invest in improving their practices in the orchard, packing shed, and post-packing distribution processes as well as ensuring fruit despatched is suitable for their export customers.
This project aims to develop a data model that identifies the lead indicators of avocado robustness such as growing conditions, harvest timing, storage duration and temperature, along with handling practices. These ‘lead indicators’ will be used to determine if and when an avocado is suitable for export.
The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) will perform laboratory tests for robustness on avocados from different regions in Queensland and Northern NSW. At the same time, Costa Avocado and DAF will conduct monitoring trials to measure fruit maturity, mineral composition, defects, and shelf-life.
Then, researchers from the Queensland University of Technology will analyse this data alongside extensive historical data sets to create a model that will:
The model will be presented as a user-friendly decision aid tool for Costa Avocado staff to road-test along their supply chain.
And, in parallel to the research team, DAF will develop best practice export guidelines to promote supply chain excellence for all avocado producers.