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Ongoing project

Papaya industry extension and communications program (PP20000)

Key research provider: Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

What’s it all about?

This investment is tasked with supporting Australian papaya growers in adopting improved practices on-farm and keeping up to date with the latest industry news, information, resources and technologies. The program will improve knowledge, awareness, skills and aspirations of papaya growers and other supply chain stakeholders in order to increase the profitability and sustainability of the Australian papaya industry.

The project team is working collaboratively with the papaya industry, relevant stakeholders and value chain members to co-design and implement a program that focuses on:  

  • Agronomic practices which improve input efficiencies
  • Integrated pest and disease management (particularly Papaya meleria virus and Phytophthora)
  • Improved post-harvest value chain management practices.

Key project activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Reviewing and updating a compendium of industry best practices
  • Delivering a series of on-farm best practice development and demonstration trials
  • Holding annual stakeholder meetings and/or events in two of the main papaya growing regions (with potential in other areas depending on industry needs)
  • Delivering the triannual Papaya Press magazine for papaya growers
  • Benchmarking changes in best practice adoption levels.

Over the past six months, the project team have continued to engage with the papaya industry in a variety of ways including the delivery of the October 2022 edition of the Papaya Press, maintenance and data collection from the three current demonstration trials, and the planning of future events and demonstration activities.

A particular highlight was the delivery of the Papaya Industry Research and Development (R&D) Workshop in conjunction with Griffith University at Mareeba, north Queensland on 5 August 2022. The focus of this workshop was to provide to industry an update of key papaya R&D activities, with a particular focus on the outcomes from the ‘National papaya breeding and evaluation program’ (PP18000) and providing an opportunity for grower feedback. The PP20000 project team worked closely with PP18000, collaborating with workshop organisation and delivery, and presented a detailed update on PP20000 activities at the event.

The two demonstration trials (Early sex determination of papaya seedlings and Papaya nutrition trial) have progressed, and an additional demonstration trial (Phytophthora systems management) has been initiated. Planning has also been conducted to design the three remaining demonstration trials required for the project.

Planning is currently underway for the next workshop on the 19 January 2023. This will be the Papaya Industry Post-harvest Bus Tour which will allow growers to look at hot water post-harvest systems in the mango industry to determine whether this is appropriate technology for their own pack sheds.

In this reporting period, one edition of the eight-page triannual industry Papaya Press publication was prepared and delivered. Regular stakeholder engagement has continued, with 75.5 hours of engagement through 30 separate interactions logged during this period including an appearance at the Innisfail Papaya Growers Association.

The project team report progress across a number of areas:

  • Two industry workshops have been held during the first year of this project. The first was a project inception and R&D prioritisation workshop held in Innisfail in August 2021 where industry stakeholders were updated on current industry R&D activities and asked to identify future projects/priorities, as well as provide feedback on the proposed strategy for this project. The second workshop was a Spray Efficiency workshop held at Cowley in April 2022.

  • The planning and design of six demonstration trials/activities over the three-year project lifetime (two/per year) based on stakeholder priorities identified in the Inception Workshop have now been initiated. Two of these trials are now well underway. The first is the development of a nursery plant sex determination protocol (with a field trial component) that will optimise planting method and early orchard establishment. The second activity is an industry-wide survey to benchmark grower nutrition inputs and practices. These results will then be utilised to implement a field trial that will help demonstrate and trial optimal fertiliser practices.

  • The review and compilation of Papaya Industry Best Practices is continuing with discussions initiated with Papaya Australia and Hort Innovation on the design and formatting review of the Papaya Australia ‘For Growers’ web page. This will be the location of future best practice resources and industry reports. Two further editions of the 8-page industry magazine ‘Papaya Press’ have been prepared and delivered to industry over this reporting period, including the February and June editions.

  • Regular stakeholder engagement has been conducted over the reporting period, with at least 12 grower interactions and farm visits conducted and attendance at three Innisfail Papaya Growers meetings.

Related levy funds

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