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Historical document

Australian Pome Fruit Improvement Program (APFIP) certification and evaluation of pome fruit in Australia (AF10000)

Key research provider: Australian Pome Fruit Improvement Program Ltd.
Publication date: June, 2011

This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.

What was it all about?

The Australia Pome Fruit Improvement Company Limited (APFIP) provided the Australian apple and pear industries with three main services:

  • Certification of propagating material (varieties and rootstocks) which helped protect the industries against known viruses
  • Independent evaluation of new varieties
  • Facilitating improvements to the quarantine system for apples and pears.

Certification systems help protect the Australian industry from the losses associated with viruses. Viruses of economic significance were widespread in Australian orchards. Using certified propagating material, free from known viruses, had the potential to result in up to 20 per cent increase in orchard productivity.

Growers were then able to access a wide range of new apple and pear varieties ‐ from many different countries. Having access to independent performance data on such varieties was vital in their selection of which new cultivars to plant.

Commercial exploitation of these new varieties required an efficient and effective quarantine system that allows importation as safely and quickly as possible.
A high level summary of APFIP’s activities in these areas were as follows:

  • APFIP’s certification scheme, as witnessed by its Certification Trade Mark was now licensed to seven nurseries that together propagate 65 per cent of the Australian apple and pear trees. Transition to the certification system and bulking up of certified propagules limited actual use of the trade mark
  • APFIP’s evaluation program collected independent data on 139 varieties. Identification of new varieties that perform poorly in a range of Australian production regions had been a key outcome of the program. This has saved growers the investment related to planting a poor performing variety
  • New protocols for testing pome fruit bud wood in Australian quarantine stations were introduced in 2002 following a significant review by AQIS. The review was stimulated by input from APFIP and resulted in the adoption of the viroid and fire blight testing protocols developed under an APFIP project.

AF10000 was a one year project put in place to allow the APFIP program to continue while APAL decided how it wished to go forward with industry services in this area. Highlights during AF10000 were:

  • The launch of APFIP’s Tree Procurement scheme that allowed growers to understand the nursery system and increase their bargaining power with nurseries. The scheme allowed growers to receive the tree they want and had specified in their order. Such trees had the potential to make make a significant difference to early productivity and return on investment
  • The publication of the annual APFIP “Variety Report” described evaluation activities and being available to the whole industry
  • The establishment of the first Certification Demonstration Site, utilising the “Fiero” Fuji strain, in Victoria’s Yarra Valley.
Related levy funds

0 7341 2692 1

Funding statement:
This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) and the Australian apple industry R&D levy (APFIP component of the R&D levy) .

Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2011. The Final Research Report (in part or as whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation (except as may be permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)).