Australians invest $11.5 mln to create bot-ready strawberries

Strawberries specially bred for automated picking will soon become a reality in Australia. Scientists will naturally meld together the desired flavor, color and aroma traits. The $11.5 mln, four-year effort is being delivered through Hort Innovation and led by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Queensland.

Hort Innovation chief executive Brett Fifield said recent data shows the horticulture workforce has decreased by 20 per cent over the past three years, which has resulted in 40 per cent of Australian growers adopting advanced machinery. That is why Hort Innovation is working with tech companies and researchers on various horticulture related automation projects, and scoping discussions with the berry industry to identify opportunities for technology adoption are underway.

Berries Australia executive director Rachel Mackenzie said the nation’s strawberry growers are ready to reap the benefits of the program’s efforts to reduce the cost of harvesting.


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