Research funding extended to improve avocado reliability

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Research funding extended to improve avocado reliability

Global resources have been pooled to solve the avocado plant's tendency to alternately bear fruit, the Avocado Research Consortium (ARC) has announced.

New Zealand Avocado Growers’ Association chief executive officer Jennifer Scoular, said the effects of the problem were severe for growers, marketers and consumers.

"Fluctuations in production, and therefore supply, create the worst conditions for industry growth. Growers have up to 90% variation in crop yields and even variations in yield of 15% can reduce profitability to zero."

Last year growers from Australia, California, New Zealand and Mexico formed the ARC in a bid to club together to solve the issue.

California Avocado Commission president Tom Bellamore, said the industry recognized it was a global problem with a shrinking research base.

"We needed to combine our financial and researcher resources to be able to work on this key avocado grower issue and in the process give the research community a good reason to focus on avocados as a career," he said

The first proposed ARC project is one that extends the work of Professor Carol J. Lovatt from the University of California Riverside.

She has found a treatment that reduces alternate bearing on Hass avocados in California, but it is not yet commercially available nor has it been tested outside the U.S.

Professor Lovatt is one of the world’s leading avocado researchers and will be partnering with Dr Samuel Salazar-García of INIFAP-Campo Experimental Santiago Ixcuintla in Mexico.

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