Prospects for Australian emerging industries
Emerging industries play an important role in the Australian agricultural landscape, contributing to the national economy and helping meet changing global demand. This prospectus is...
Published: 3 Nov 2022
Author(s): Peter Middleton
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Date palms (Phoenix dactylifera) were first grown in Australia in the 1880s, however due to low planting stock and limited expertise in date production, expansion across Australia was restrained. The Australian date palm industry remains small today, comprising 50 commercial farming operations, predominately made up of Barhee date varieties, with a total area of about 100 hectares.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, planting material became more readily available with the application of tissue culture techniques. In 2021, Australian date farmers produced an estimated 100 tonnes of mixed date varieties worth about $2 million post-farmgate. Production is expected to slowly rise as an increasing number of plantations reach maturity.
The development of a Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) Plan is a crucial step in growth for this emerging industry. This Australian Date Palm RD&E Plan clearly identifies opportunities and barriers to industry growth, and subsequent priorities for the industry. RD&E Plans for emerging industries are resources that can be used by industry to help drive investment and growth within the industry.
This Plan is the result of extensive desktop research and stakeholder consultation across the Australian date palm industry and pulls together specific recommendations for future investment to support the long-term growth and competitive advantage of the industry. The four key themes identified in the Plan are: (1) Improve on-farm productivity; (2) Build industry’s capacity and capability; (3) Increase industry’s capacity to meet quality specifications and market demand; and (4) Ensure the industry is environmentally responsible.
Further, this Plan includes a literature review on poor fruit set, integrated pest management options for Parlatoria date scale, fruit drop, rain damage and the impacts of climate change to collate existing knowledge on these topics.