New variety commercialisation

The process...developing new varieties for growers.

The evaluation and commercialisation of new fruit and nut varieties and rootstocks for the Australian fruit industry is a long and complex process. Following import into Australia, plants are held in quarantine for up to 2 or 3 years, with orchard evaluations taking a further 4 to 5 years before a commercial decision can be made on the release of new fruit varieties and rootstocks to industry.

Breeding programs to identify new selections are even longer term processes, with a new fruit variety or rootstock only available for commercialisation after 15-20 years. In many cases less than 1% of all new selections actually make it into commercial orchards for fruit production.

These expensive long term breeding programs no longer receive public funding, so as new fruit varieties are beginning to be commercialised, owner/breeders are requesting both tree and fruit production royalties as compensation.

Royalties need to be paid if the latest fruit varieties are to be planted for commercial production. ANFIC regularly discusses royalties with the owner/breeders we represent to ensure they understand the imposition of these royalties on grower’s businesses, especially if there is no premium obtained for the fruit of these new varieties.

In the cases where new fruit varieties are absolute winners in the marketplace and there is little competition for the foreseeable future, then owner/breeders demand tree and fruit production royalties for their efforts.

With this in mind, ANFIC will evaluate new fruit varieties as quickly as possible in Australia before presenting a commercial royalty proposal to the owner/breeders for consideration. In most, if not all, cases the owner/breeders of these exceptional varieties will demand tree and fruit production royalties. How that is managed under Australian conditions is where ANFIC begins discussions with growers and marketers on the best options for commercialisation.