12 Months Of Research Pays Off For Northern Territory Passionfruit Industry

12 Months Of Research Pays Off For Northern Territory Passionfruit Industry

Northern Territory Minister for Primary Industry and Resources Ken Vowles

A Passion For Creating Agricultural Jobs

Victor P Taffa

Agricultural sector was worth $736 Million to the Territory economy in 2015-16.

Northern Territory Government is working to expand the industry and create jobs by supporting and developing new agricultural ventures in the Northern Territory, and its latest success story is passionfruit.

Last year, Minister for Primary Industry and Resources Ken Vowles announced his department had developed several promising new lines of the delicious fruit.



12 months of additional research has seen the project now ready for commercial development, with a Request for Proposal issued to find growers able to take these fruit to market.

“Agribusiness is an economic driver for the Territory and there is plenty of room for growth.” Minister Vowles said.

“This government is helping that growth through several channels, including research such as this, which will deliver in terms of crops and sales. We announced these passionfruit trials in October last year, and it’s great to see they are now ready for commercial development.”

“These new varieties produce a high-quality fruit that looks and tastes amazing and the vines are better adapted to our climate. Most importantly, they fruit in October and November, when other production areas do not supply to the Australian market. Territory passionfruit could fill this gap in the market and demand premium prices.” Minister Vowles said.

New varieties are the result of crossing Panama Red passionfruit, typically grown in the Northern Territory, with the dark purple Edulis variety grown interstate.

“Edulis variety attracts considerably higher prices at market, but they do not perform in tropical climates.” Minister Vowles said.

“These hybrids of the 2 types boast the heat tolerance of the Panama Red variety and the appearance of the Edulis variety. Researchers have carefully selected the best seedlings for size, shape, colour, sugar content, acidity, aroma, flavour, percentage of pulp and shelf life, and come up with these delicious new varieties.”

A further benefit of the new Territory passionfruit varieties is that they are free of passionfruit woodiness virus.

“This collective group of viruses cause loss of productivity, poor fruit development and premature vine death.” Minister Vowles said.

“Fact that Territory passionfruit varieties are free from this problem gives them a distinct advantage.”

Australian passionfruit industry is valued at $17 Million, and produces approximately 4,000 tonnes of fruit a year.

“This is a real opportunity for Territory growers to capitalise on the Northern Territory Government’s investment in research and take our passionfruit to the rest of Australia and possibly the world.” Minister Vowles said.