Growing Innovation, Issue 3, March 22, 2016

Innovation and productivity ensures bright future for passionfruit

Tina McPherson, Bundaberg, QLD

Tina McPherson and her husband Bruce purchased their passionfruit farm in Bundaberg, Queensland in 2008. After a history of growing strawberries, as well as dairy farming in New Zealand, it was time for a sea change to Tina’s native Queensland and they’ve never looked back.

Tina produces approximately 150 tonnes of passionfruit a year, with harvest taking place all year round with the exception of

March and November. This makes the farm amongst one of the larger passionfruit producers in Australia.

As President of Passionfruit Australia Inc., Tina is wholeheartedly dedicated to the longevity of the Australian passionfruit industry.

“I am committed to improving growers’ productivity to ensure they remain innovative and competitive,” said Tina.

“To do this, it is very important to have effective research that help growers on the ground.”

“A 2015 Hort Innovation research project investigated the passionfruit supply chain and distribution (PF13006). Its objective was to improve industry data and knowledge to inform decision making at an industry and business level – from grower through to retail.”

“It was very useful and set the foundation for future projects.”

Tina insists one of the industry’s biggest priorities is to develop new passionfruit varieties.

“The Australian passionfruit industry is small but there is opportunity grow our markets and provide better education for consumers. At present, costs are too high. We have small budgets but big needs.”

“If we can invest in research to help develop new varieties, and then even out the production so there isn’t an oversupply, the sky is the limit.”

Tina believes trade should be a future focus for the industry.

“Exports need to be looked at this year. It will be a big project, but it will give Australia a boost in terms of profitability and longevity.”

“I think we should look at New Zealand and Asian markets.”

The future is certainly looking up for Aussie passionfruit with some new marketing achievements. Tina says she is excited about 2016 and what it will bring.

“The industry has a new consumer facing website and a big social media presence – this is great for an industry with a small marketing budget.”

“We have an enthusiastic, diverse group of growers, who want to stay engaged and involved in every aspect of the industry.”

“The future looks bright for Aussie passionfruit.”