Plant PropagationSmart Farming

New Israeli Development can Help Boost the Supply of Avocado Worldwide

Israeli Development is the first in the world with breakthrough technology that enables rapid production of avocado seedlings in sterile tissue cultures appropriate for export – in response to the huge demand for avocado throughout the world.

Following the successful research at the MIGAL Galilee Research Institute and tremendous demand, the Bestree Company was established to produce and market avocado seedling cultures
all over the world.

Avocado is considered the new “green gold” and has achieved great economic success alongside other agricultural crops. Its nutritional values are of the highest regard, and the worldwide demand for avocado continues to rise, year after year. Therefore, the demand to cultivate avocado orchards is huge!

Approximately 15 million (!) new avocado seedlings are planted every year around the world due to the increased demand from European countries, as well as from China and Japan. In 2018, the global avocado market was estimated at approximately 13 billion dollars, a value that is expected to rise to 21.6 billion dollars by 2026. In Israel, about 35 thousand acres of avocado orchards are currently planted in Israel and supply an average of 120 thousand tons of avocado per year for export and the local market; the planting rate is 2,500 acres per year.

Numerous research institutes around the world are engaged in trying to grow avocado seedlings in non-conventional ways, in an effort to speed up the long production time of seedlings so as to meet the ever-increasing global demand for growing avocado.

In addition, avocado seedlings that are bred in the traditional manner are prohibited for export and cannot be transferred from country to country due to plant protection regulations aimed at preventing the transfer of diseases from country to country. With the rapid method – in a sterile culture – these seedlings will be cleared for export – and that is why this research is considered an international revolution!

This is the first commercial development in the world of avocado cuttings that have undergone vegetative propagation in sterile tissue cultures – a method of cloning parts of the plant into whole plants. This is a significant and revolutionary achievement in the field of innovation and AgroTech, an economic research success that places the MIGAL Galilee Research Institute (supported by the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology) at the forefront of research institutes around the world.

Following the successful research, a start-up was initially established within MIGAL, and after validation of economic commercial programming, and investments by Kibbutz Elrom and Beit Zera, Bestree was established as a commercial company with greenhouses and a growing area, and has already begun breeding seedlings designated for local farmers and global export.

Uri Ben-Herzl, VP of Business Development at the MIGAL Galilee Research Institute: “Avocado is a difficult plant to take root, and until now, there has been no commercial program for breeding avocado cuttings in cultures. The development of the start-up company that was established by MIGAL and became the commercial company, Bestree, is a great international success that will change the value of the growing chain in the avocado industry in Israel and around the world, increase the quality of the seedlings and their uniformity in the orchard, and will promote flexibility in the industry. Today, the preparation of avocado seedlings, the difficulties during the early years of growth, and the large financial losses for the farmers due to a lack of uniformity and infestation constitute the “bottlenecks” in the industry. The new method developed by MIGAL will allow the expansion of the avocado industry and the export of seedlings from Israel.”

Dr. Lior Rubinovitz, from the Northern R&D Division at the MIGAL Galilee Research Institute and leader of the research says: “Development in tissue cultures improves the quality of the avocado seedlings, their availability, and health, and ensures disease-free plants. In addition, since the innovative cuttings are sterile, they are suitable for export. Most countries around the world authorize only the import of plant breeding substances derived from tissue cultures. This is a huge economic advantage for the new Bestree company, which was established following the success of the research, and in response to the global demand for avocado seedlings that continues to rise from year to year.”

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