A culture of bananas

June 11, 2015 by Roz Tarszisz
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North Queensland banana growers  have recently visited Rahan Meristem, an agricultural biotechnology company located in north western Israel.

Australian Ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma and Ethy Levy at the meeting

Australian Ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma (3rd left)  and Ethy Levy {2nd right)  at the meeting

Haifa Australia and Lindsay Rural hosted the group’s visit to the plant propagation, selection and breeding company.

Rahan Meristem, regarded as one of the world’s leading exporter of tissue cultured banana and plantain, is keen to trial cultured banana varieties in Australia and to collaborate on developing a variety resistant to Panama disease.

Australian rural publication The Land has reported it could be some time before the company’s varieties are commercially available in Australia but the Queensland growers were very interested in the opportunity to access its tissue cultured technologies for their local industry.

The agri-biotech company takes superior clones of leading cultivated idio-types and evaluates them for increased yield and quality of fruit in tropical and sub-tropical climates.

The company’s aim is to produce selections of banana cultivars and plants which are disease and pest-free as a way to increase plantation profits.

Eli Khayat, Scientific Director, told the growers Rahan Meristem aimed to pass Australian quarantine and establish two field trials in Australia’s major growing areas.

“I am certain that our material will be helpful to growers in Australia” he said.

Commenting on the initiative, Ethy Levy, Israel Trade Commissioner in Sydney said:

“Israel is a world leader in agricultural technologies and we encourage more Australian growers to discover its amazing technologies and developments.

A recent delegation of growers led by Ausveg CEO took part in the Agritech conference held in Tel-Aviv. The visit and conference created opportunities for cooperation between Australian growers and Israeli agricultural technology companies.

We congratulate Haifa Australia and Rahan Meristem on their important collaboration with the Queensland banana growers. This is the type of activity we endeavor to promote through various activities and initiatives of the Israel Trade Commission, specifically through the promotion of an R&D cooperation agreement between our countries.

Haifa have been extremely active in the Australian market and we congratulate them on this initiative.

With the important free trade agreement Australia  recently signed with China, Australian growers should be looking at Israeli agricultural technologies and packaging solutions to increase their efficiency and quality of crops.

Israel is extremely experienced with agricultural exports and could contribute to the development of Australian agricultural exports with technologies ranging from seeds, irrigation, nutrients, fertilizers, analytics but also the packaging of fresh produce.

Dairy technologies is another sector where I see a great potential for cooperation between Israel and Australia” she concluded.


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