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Bush tomato's prospects not so nutty, say experts

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Researchers say bush tomatoes may one day be as popular as macadamia nuts.

The Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre will discuss developments in the bush tomato industry at its annual conference in Alice Springs over the next two days.

Doctor Maartin Ryder from the centre's Bush Produce Project says the macadamia industry hardly existed 40 years ago but has now grown into a mature industry.

He says it is possible bush tomatoes will develop in a similar way.

"For example the bush tomato from the arid zone is put into various chutneys and sauces by food processors and the bush tomato's actually quite a good selling line," he said.

"It's actually one of their best selling lines so I think there's quite a good potential for this plant."

Doctor Ryder also says experts from Curtin University in Perth have come up with a way to control pests that currently destroy more than a quarter of stored bush tomatoes.

He says the finding has removed one of the biggest barriers to the expansion of the bush tomato industry.

"Really it's been a problem to people in the industry," he said.

"There have been reasonable losses due to these insect pests of the crop or the harvest and also it's been a barrier to people entering the industry knowing that there's this problem that isn't really being worked on."


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