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Historical document

Facilitating the development of the Western Australian citrus industry (CT05011)

Key research provider: Fruit West
Publication date: February, 2010

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Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.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?

Project CT05011 ‘Facilitating the development of the Western Australian Citrus Industry’ was the third project undertaken between the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia, the Western Australian Fruit Growers Citrus Council and hort Innovation (which was then Horticulture Australia Limited).

The primary objective of the project was to facilitate communication between local industry members and the national and international citrus industry. This was achieved through attendance at state, national and international conferences and study tours as well as providing a platform for presenters from overseas and interstate to engage with local growers.

Development Officers in the project also provided technical support and feedback to the Western Australian Citrus Growers Citrus Council and led the development of the Western Australian Citrus Industry Strategic Plan 2010 – 2020.

The project established best management practice demonstration sites in the main growing areas of the state to demonstrate good fertiliser, irrigation, pest and cultural management practices. Learning’s from the process and the findings of demonstration trials were extended to growers through field days, written materials, email newsletters, radio interviews and the department website.

A retail development project was established that monitored the quality of citrus available to consumers at the retail level. Feedback on internal and external fruit quality, shelf life and fruit availability was provided to retailers, individual growers and packers throughout the country and overseas and to the wider industry. From this work the Western Australian Citrus Fruits Packing Code 2008 was developed. This code specified minimum standards for the internal maturity of citrus fruits and made it illegal to offer for sale produce which did not meet the standard. The code benefits consumers and growers, providing better eating experiences for WA consumers and reducing customer backlash to immature fruit at the start of season.

One of the biggest findings of the project was that the focus of industry resourcing had to change from expansion and production to marketing. The WA industry had expanded rapidly and was forecast to produce 40,000 tonnes in 2015 almost three time’s the states production at the time of 13,000 tonnes. A marketing and export forum was held in 2009, revealing to growers, marketers, retailers and government the extent of this expansion and the effect it could have had on supply and demand dynamics in the near future.

Following the forum a focus group consisting of growers, packers and agents was formed to discuss and plan the industries future. A strategic plan was developed that focuses on relevant timely data, communication across the supply chain and development of domestic and export markets.


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Funding statement:
This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the financial support of Fruit West and the citrus industry.

Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2010. 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)).