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Ongoing project

Reducing the risk of illegally imported citrus budwood (CT19004)

Key research provider: Auscitrus

What's it all about?

This investment protects the citrus industry's health status by ensuring that disease-free, true-to-type propagation material is available to prevent incurable diseases from entering Australia.

The research team is working to increase understanding of the demand for new citrus varieties, support the provision of disease-free sources of propagation material, and reduce the likelihood of illegally imported budwood.

Healthy budwood of the varieties sought by industry is available through the National Citrus Repository Program and the Auscitrus propagation scheme. However, there is a small but regular demand for minor citrus varieties which are not currently available as clean budwood from health-tested sources.

Recent border detections of material potentially impacting the Australian citrus industry have highlighted the need to understand the demand for such citrus varieties in Australia and reduce the risk of illegal importation. The Australian citrus industry recognises that many of these desired varieties originate in parts of the world where devastating diseases and pests are found, such as huanglongbing (HLB), citrus variegated chlorosis (CVC) and the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP).

During the first six months of the project, project activities have focussed on collecting insights about varieties commonly purchased by non-commercial citrus growers, emerging trends in relation to citrus demand (e.g. as a culinary ingredient or ornamental), and current methods of sourcing and purchasing propagation material by retail nurseries and residential backyard growers. 

To this end, the project team has:
•    undertaken a review of the importance (and uses) of citrus across cultures
•    undertaken an analysis of online citrus sales
•    prepared surveys for multiple stakeholder groups.

These activities have been underpinned by stakeholder identification, stakeholder database development, and sourcing advice from the expert panel.

In addition, Auscitrus has developed a website form to allow members of the public to submit an expression of interest to access citrus varieties of interest to them.

A database of candidate varieties has been commenced, and a set of parameters identified to allow assessment of biosecurity risk presented by each variety.  This database and risk assessment will be analysed by the expert panel when prioritising varieties to procure through this project.

Related levy funds

This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Citrus Fund