Hort Innovation’s investment of the papaya R&D levy continues to have a focus on genetic work to improve the quality of Australian papaya. Read more in the R&D snapshot below. For the latest on how the industry’s marketing levy is being put to use, head to the marketing snapshot.


After you’ve read about the papaya industry’s current levy investments and outcomes in this edition of Hortlink, check out Hort Innovation’s papaya grower page. The grower page remains your one-stop-shop for industry information, including:

  • Important updates regarding the papaya Strategic Investment Plan (SIP), as available. Developed in close consultation with growers and other industry stakeholders, the SIP is a document outlining the priorities for strategic investment in the industry. It is to be used like a ‘roadmap’ by the papaya Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP) when providing advice to Hort Innovation on potential levy investments.
  • The latest updates regarding the papaya SIAP, including details on the panel’s recently appointed chair, Eoin Wallis, and summaries from all SIAP meetings to date. The SIAP last met in July 2016 and is due to meet next in March.
  • The 2015/16 papaya industry annual report, detailing activities from the previous financial year.
  • Grower resources, events and articles of interest to the papaya industry.

Any questions?

As well as the papaya grower page, Hort Innovation Relationship Manager Astrid Hughes is always available to answer questions on the papaya program on 0405 306 334 or at For questions relating specifically to the industry’s marketing, contact Hort Innovation Marketing Manager Craig Perring.



New genetic targets to improve quality in papaya (PP15000)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? With a focus on improving the quality of Australian papaya and producing elite, uniform cultivars, this project began in 2016 to assist breeding now and in the near-future, and to support industry development. It has five key sub-projects:

  • Breeding to improve flavour and other important traits in commercial papaya
  • Collection of papaya germplasm and the development of a related database, to provide a resource to increase the genetic base of Australian papaya
  • Molecular studies to assist breeding for papaya
  • Papaya Ringspot Virus Type P (PRSV-P) resistance work
  • The employment of an industry development officer (IDO), to work closely with growers, researchers and other industry stakeholders (the IDO is also responsible for carrying out other sub-project work).

What’s the latest update? In regards to breeding, project work continues towards developing new red and yellow cultivars with improved flesh flavour and other traits, and to assess the performance of potential new cultivars in different growing environments.

Towards the end of 2016, eight new yellow crosses in field trials (derived from a line with high yield and improved flavour) were assessed for productivity traits including height to first fruit. At the time of last reporting to Hort Innovation, fruit quality traits and yield were to be assessed after fruit harvest.

Genomics work will be conducted on the new cultivars to identify key volatiles that are responsible for good taste and smell. This information will be produced to align with production of fruit through the breeding program, so that taste panels can evaluate the fruit from this research investment in conjunction with commercially available fruit. .

During December 2016 and January and February 2017, there was also planting of seedlings derived from another promising line at farms in Mareeba and Innisfail in Queensland. These trees will be evaluated for fruit and yield-related traits at set intervals throughout 2017 and 2018, with genetics also to be assessed.

Other recent activities of the project have included:

  • The production of a draft handbook for papaya fruit quality and productivity trait evaluation, for use by researchers, breeders and growers. The handbook is to be circulated for industry feedback shortly
  • The continued collection, propagation and field planting of papaya germplasm
  • The continued use of genomics approaches to identify regions of the papaya genome associated with key fruit quality and yield traits
  • Work towards improvement of PRSV-P resistance in papaya, including the field planting of advanced crosses produced towards this resistance and evaluation of seedlings for reaction to the virus under natural field inoculum. There have been 14 lines planted at Griffith University for this purpose, with inoculation experiments to continue this year.

In regards to the industry development aspect of the project, there have been workshops held, including a scientific workshop a few months back in 2016, and farm visits in early September last year.



In the lead-up to Christmas and in early 2017, the papaya marketing program has had a sole focus on social media and public relations. In particular, frequent posts through the Facebook page ( have seen high engagement and consistent growth in page likes.

Meanwhile, the second half of this year’s campaign is packed with activity, with major experiential opportunities being utilised, in-store demonstrations taking place and continuation of the papaya public relations and media campaign.

Late February and early April will see the marketing program display at the Pregnancy, Babies and Children’s Expo in Melbourne and Sydney respectively. At these events, the ‘Papaya Café’ will give out samples of papaya puree for all mums and babies and help educate families about the benefits and uses of the fruit. This will be the first time papaya has been showcased at the Melbourne event, while the Sydney event last year was a great success, with over 20,500 visitors (and numbers expected to increase this year).

The Expo provides a great way to educate and target the marketing campaign’s primary demographic of small, start-up and bustling families, with an emotional message that resonates with expecting mothers and new parents. It also provides an opportunity to show expecting and new mums how to use papaya as a cheap alternative to expensive baby food products, while focusing on the health messages for both mothers and babies.


The Papaya Café at last year’s Sydney Pregnancy, Babies and Children’s Expo

Media and public relations, including an autumn seasonal release, as well as social media, will play an active role throughout the second half of the annual marketing program. There will be education on the taste and health benefits of papaya with one-on-one top-tier media briefings involving a papaya grower.

In addition, there is to be a strong retailer engagement program, including distribution of point-of-sales recipe cards for promotion of papaya in stores.

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