There is quite some history regarding the three hybrid mangoes, still referred to by their plant breeding codes, NMBP 1201, 1243 and 4069. Work started on the varieties some 25 years ago via the National Mango Breeding Program (NMBP). At the time, the mango industry was expecting the varieties would be branded and hitting supermarket shelves by 2012. This did not come to pass.
Around six months ago, Brett Kelly became the chief executive of the Australian Mango Industry Association (AMIA) and its 100 per cent subsidiary company Newmanco, which was set up to oversee the commercialization phase of the new mangoes in partnership with the CSIRO.
Kelly said it was difficult to tell why the commercialization of the hybrid mangoes had stalled so badly. "Being new to the role, this is one of the things I've inherited to obviously get sorted ... and I think with the initial work done, it was all very good, but the best way forward is for the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) to take over," he told abc.net.au. "Yes, it's dragged on for a long time; I'm not sure exactly why ... I think with these three new varieties it could now really be a very good outcome for those growers."
In a statement, DAF general manager of horticulture Lynne Turner said the next phase would be an "expression of interest seeking tender proposals to manage the propagation, growing and marketing of varieties".
Far north Queensland mango grower Raymond Bin signed up to get hold of the hybrid mangoes in 2010. He Bin hopes that, after years of delays, the commercial rollout can now succeed. "It has taken way too long. I don't think anyone would deny that," he said. "I personally waited for a very long number of years before I could even access the trees for planting. It's disappointing that's the way it went but we need to move forward now."
According to the AMIA, around 20 farmers have access to the varieties and last year produced around 1,000 trays of fruit.