The jujube is widely grown in China and neighbouring countries with cultivation records dating back more than 3,000 years. However, its history in Australia is short with successful cultivation taking place since around the year 2000. Jujube is considered a new horticultural crop in Western Australia and plantings of jujube trees have increased since 2010 as awareness of the crop increases. Western Australia had an estimated 30 commercial jujube growers managing 10,000 trees on 20 hectares and a grower in Victoria began selling commercially in 2012. Production in Western Australia was spread between the Perth Hills, the South West region and some Wheatbelt and northern areas not usually linked to orchards.
Jujubes have also been successfully grown in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. The jujube’s drought and salinity tolerance, easy management and multiple uses indicate potential for a niche crop for many areas of Australia.
As at 2014, demand for the fruit was outweighing supply in the Perth market. Fruit was retailing through Asian grocery stores in the Perth metropolitan area, as well as weekend farmers’ markets. Government and industry participants in Western Australia are examining jujube’s export potential to Asia.
The main factor limiting industry growth is the availability of trees, with local suppliers being unable to keep up with demand from potential growers.
The WA Jujube Growers Association Inc was established in December 2013.
Facts and figures
- Chinese Jujube, also known as Chinese dates, is a new horticultural industry in Australia being cultivated in Australia since about 2000
- The only commercial jujube orchards were in Western Australia and one in Mildura, Victoria
- Jujube’s drought and salinity tolerance, easy management and multiple uses indicates potential for a niche crop for many areas of Australia
- Trees can be hard to obtain as propagators cannot keep up with demand for new plantings
- It has been estimated that it may take new industry entrants seven years to earn a profit from jujube plantings
Chinese Jujube trees have grown successfully in Australia for over 15 years and the industry is growing steadily. The tree is well suited to Australia’s climate and soil types, growing in a range of areas. Western Australia is currently Australia’s leading jujube producing state with an estimated 10,000 trees planted on 20ha.
There are approximately 30 commercial jujube growers in the Perth Hills, the Wheatbelt and the South West region. Plantings of jujube trees have increased in Western Australia since 2010 as awareness of the crop increases.
Jujubes have also been successfully grown in the eastern states of Australia in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia.