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Jujube growers meet to develop industry

Countryman

Twenty commercial jujube growers met in Perth recently to discuss forming a grower group to share knowledge and ideas.

The meeting followed growing interest in this fruit that originated in China and has a strong support, particularly among West Australians of Asian origin.

The Department of Agriculture and Food is working with WA growers to develop the jujube industry in Australia, supported by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation.

Department development officer Rachelle Johnstone has communicated with about 40 growers on her current mailing list, but believes others may be experimenting with the new crop.

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"Sharing information about the success of varieties under different conditions, propagation, pruning and other practices can be very useful for both existing and new growers," she said.

"If the industry is to move forward and develop the potential that many people believe it has, regular communication and co-ordination will be essential."

Growers from Manjimup, Bridgetown, Coolup, Beverley, Gidgegannup, York and Narrogin attended the August meeting, and others indicated support for a grower group.

Ms Johnstone said participants decided an informal online forum would be the best way for growers throughout the State to communicate and share knowledge, ideas and questions with the view to possibly establishing a more formal industry body in the future.

York grower Andrew Rowland offered to set up and moderate the forum, which will be aimed primarily at commercial jujube growers.

"If the jujube industry is to progress to the next level, we have to make the transition from a collection of small, individual growers to a group of like-minded people with a common goal," he said.

"That's not as easy as it sounds, but forming an online forum is a step in the right direction."

The growers also decided a survey of the current state of the industry was needed to gauge the area planted and current production of jujubes in WA.

To join the forum, email rachelle.johnstone@agric.wa.gov .au.

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