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Ongoing project

Serviced supply chains II (AM21000)

Key research provider: Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

What's it all about?

Australia has a reputation for producing safe and nutritious premium fresh produce. Despite our proximity to key export markets, consistently delivering high-quality produce is an ongoing challenge, and this has been amplified by the recent supply chain disruption associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The risk of fresh produce quality loss during the supply chain must be quantified in order to support exporter decision-making. Monitoring and evaluating cultivar postharvest performance is needed to inform supply chain handling strategies for different modes of transportation.

This investment will address these issues by providing the necessary decision support for growers and exporters to manage supply chain risks and deliver consistent product quality. The core objectives of this project are to:

  1. Develop predictive shelf life models for a range of fresh horticultural produce
  2. Apply the models to develop decision aid tools and updated export handling guidelines
  3. Establish an information portal that facilitates industry-wide access to the decision aid tools

The project will build off the recently completed project Serviced supply chains: Monitoring and modelling to improve the quality of Australian fresh produce into Asian markets (AM15002), which increased exporter awareness and adoption of remote consignment monitoring technologies to improve handling practice and fresh produce quality. It also developed decision aid tools based on predictive shelf life modelling to guide handling strategies for two mango and six stone fruit cultivars.

The general approach will extend the RD&E to existing and emerging export cultivars of other commodities (such as avocado, strawberries and selected vegetables) in addition to mango and summerfruit. Growers of these commodities are actively seeking support to develop and increase exports; information will be made available to all growers of the selected varieties. The project will also expand the shelf life modelling to consider the environment, management and postharvest factors influencing product quality.  

Collectively, this will support the development of decision aid tools that guide cultivar selection, production and postharvest handling strategies, phytosanitary treatments and freight modes to market. Case studies will be promoted to encourage broad cross-commodity and supply chain sector interest, trialling and adopting project recommendations and tools.