With a focus on new passionfruit varieties and strong communication to support skills and knowledge growth, Hort Innovation continues to fund key projects with the passionfruit R&D levy. Read more in the R&D snapshot below. To see how the industry’s marketing levy is being put to use, check out the marketing snapshot.

INDUSTRY UPDATE

Following its first face-to-face meeting back in July, the passionfruit Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP) convened again in September. Meeting summaries are available on Hort Innovation’s Passionfruit grower page.

The selection process for appointing an independent chair for the SIAP has also recently been completed, with information on the chair to be made available on the grower page shortly.

The Strategic Investment Plan

A Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) is the roadmap that helps ensure levy investment decisions align with individual industry priorities. It is used to guide decision-making in levy spending, and represents a balanced view of stakeholders in the industry.

Hort Innovation is currently consulting with growers and other industry stakeholders to finalise new SIPs for each industry by the end of the calendar year.

To learn more about the SIP process, visit Hort Innovation’s SIP Portal.

Any questions?

As well as the Passionfruit grower page, Hort Innovation Relationship Manager Astrid Hughes is always available to answer questions on the passionfruit program. For questions relating specifically to the industry’s marketing, contact Hort Innovation Marketing Manager Monique Emmi.

R&D SNAPSHOT

NEW, ONGOING AND COMPLETED PROJECTS FOR THE INDUSTRY

National passionfruit breeding program (PF15000)

Status: New project

What’s it all about? This three-year project with Southern Cross University is focused on the development of new varieties of passionfruit to ensure the sustainability of the industry. It is working towards the release of new commercial varieties before varietal decline affects the profitability of current ones, such as Sweetheart and Misty Gem.

What’s the latest update? The project is still in its very early stages, having officially begun in June this year. Through its life, it aims to assess passionfruit material that is currently growing and being trialled, see crosses carried out between elite lines that have the potential to produce new commercially useful varieties, and trial these progeny to ascertain key genetic traits. Among other aims, the project will also establish an industry seedbank to conserve and enhance current passionfruit genetic material in Australia.

Communication program for the passionfruit industry (PF13004)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? With a focus on print communications, this project aims to keep passionfruit growers and other industry stakeholders informed about the latest R&D and marketing activity, essential chemical information, and other key industry news, market issues and reports. Through supply of information, the ultimate goal is to assist growers in making production decisions, and to build industry capacity, productivity and profitability.

What’s the latest update? This project continues to produce quarterly issues of The Passion Vine magazine. It also maintains and updates information on the www.passionfruitaustralia.org.au website, which provides detailed information about growing, product, supply, marketing and more.

MARKETING SNAPSHOT

THE LATEST ACTIVITY THAT’S GROWING THE INDUSTRY

Now complete: 2016 in-store activity

During winter, marketing activity for passionfruit had a focus on in-store education of consumers (and retail staff) about passionfruit, including how to choose the best fruit and that passionfruit can be enjoyed all year round. Sampling sessions were held in independent grocers across the eastern seaboard, with a total of 115 sessions and up to 120 samples given out per session. This activity was supported by point-of-sale material, including recipe brochures and posters.

Always on: social media

Passionfruit marketing has an ‘always on’ approach through the industry’s social channels – the Aussie Passionfruit Facebook page (www.facebook.com/aussiepassionfruit) and Instagram account (@aussiepassionfruit). These channels continue to post regular content including passionfruit recipes, tips, health messaging, passionfruit facts and grower content.

New 2016/17 campaign: ‘Finish the dish with passionfruit’

With passionfruit’s peak season from mid-November to April, marketing activity will now be ramping up, with the summer marketing campaign positioning passionfruit as the ideal finishing touch for a range of sweet and savoury dishes.

The ‘Finish the dish with passionfruit’ campaign messaging is being supported by beautiful new imagery and recipes, including a Tangy Passionfruit Sauce developed by foodie Janet Mitchell that will be shown as the perfect ‘passionfruit finish’ for dishes such as ricotta and banana toast, Eton mess and churros.

The campaign will use the hashtag #finishwithpassion to encourage social media users to share pictures of how they use passionfruit. How-to videos will also form a part of the campaign, which will be supported through the Australian Passionfruit social media channels, on the consumer-friendly www.aussiepassionfruit.com.au website, and via PR activity.

Campaign materials have been sent to long-lead media for inclusion in summer publications, and a select number of key influencers and publications will receive a passionfruit hamper to inspire passionfruit recipe development for their audiences.


passionfruit-marketing-collage

Some of the new campaign imagery


GROWER PROFILE

MICK GRANGER, P & S GRANGER, NSW

Mick Granger, 24, recently returned to his family’s passionfruit business and says other young growers shouldn’t shy away from a life on the farm.

“There aren’t too many young farmers in the industry. People think farming is really full-on, but as soon as you get used to it, it isn’t as daunting as you might think,” Mick said.

The family farm, in Bogangar on the Tweed Coast, has been in Mick’s family for 40 years. Traditionally the Granger’s grew bananas, but moved into passionfruit 15 years ago.

“Like most people in the area we struggled with Panama disease. We’ve spoken to other local farmers about the transition, because they’ve gone through doing the same thing.”

Mick said although the farm faced everyday problems like most businesses, the passionfruit vines were looking good this year and his family hoped to plant more.

“The farm is still quite small compared to other farms, but now with me being back on the farm full-time, we’re looking to get bigger in coming years.”

Mick was working in the electrical industry before his recent return to the farm, and is enjoying the flexibility of working in a family business. “I really enjoy growing. There are a lot of challenges, but that’s one of the reasons I like doing it,” he said.

Mick said daily challenges in the humid climate included an ongoing battle with passionfruit diseases and a lot of manual labour. He added that research into new chemicals would be beneficial for the industry, as well as better methods and practices to maximise what the industry does have.

“A lot of the chemicals we’re using have been around for a fair while. Some more research into getting new chemicals approved would be a very good measure for the industry.”

Mick said he was also interested in the passionfruit breeding program being undertaken by Hort Innovation and Southern Cross University (SCU). “We’ve been assisting, along with many others, in developing the national breeding project with SCU, who will be working with a number of interested growers in different growing regions to get some new varieties,” he said.

“Hopefully with a better understanding of the genetic markers in passionfruit this will complement other breeding initiatives so we can get some new varieties soon. The industry has been working very hard the past few years and we’ve seen a couple of varieties with promise – they’re not quite like the Sweetheart, but they’re definitely promising and we can hopefully build from there.”

This is where a national, industry-led R&D levy is so valuable, Mick said.

Print page