Date forum hits Alice
The NT Government has hosted a Central Australian Date Network Forum at the Arid Zone Research Institute (AZRI), with major industry stakeholders to discuss challenges the industry is facing and identify areas of research required to improve commercial opportunities for the Australian date industry.
The forum provided a great opportunity for industry to expand and move forward by identifying what future work is required to fill Central Australian research gaps.
Dates are a popular commercial avenue in Central Australia, with the Desert Fruit Company, located 60 kilometres south east of Alice Springs, harvesting more than 15 tonnes of dates this season, doubling its previous record.
The horticultural research team at AZRI evaluates varieties of dates grown in different climactic zones for commercial opportunities.
The Dahlenberg block at AZRI contains 36 known clonal varieties, with some of the older palms almost 30 years of age.
The forum also launched, “Oliver Palm” a new variety of date named after the Department of Primary Industry and Resources (DPIR) own Glen Oliver, a Technical Officer with DPIR’s Plant Industry Development Division.
Mr Oliver noticed a flowering male palm while collecting irrigation supplies at Rainbow Reticulation (Ross Highway) in 2012, and obtained a sample for testing. The variety had not been identified, but has now been propagated through tissue culture and is being prepared to be used internationally to pollinate commercial date palms.