A study tour to Australia was undertaken towards the end of the 1994/95 season to investigate the Australian litchi industry and the most recent research being done there on litchis. The major objective however, was to gain first hand experience on the growing, cropping ability, adaptability and growers’ experiences of the better litchi cultivars being grown in Australia and on which the South African litchi industry wants to expand. Up to date research and technology being done by various institutions on litchis in Australia were investigated to obtain knowledge about cultivation practices, breeding programmes and postharvest technology aimed at the development, growth and expansion of the South African Litchi Industry. The opportunity was also taken to extend collaboration between the Institute for Tropical and Subtropical crops (ITSC) and Maroochy Horticultural Research Station (MHRS) and to continue the research on the effect of drought on the relationship between photosynthesis and tree water status of litchi trees. This research was started during the visit of Dr Chris Menzel from MHRS to South Africa during the 1992/93 season. This report outlines benefits to the South African litchi industry and includes:
- Information on the cropping ability of the better litchi cultivars such as Souey Tung, Haak Yip, Kwai May Pink (KMP), Salathiel and Wai Chee.
- An understanding of crop management in relation to tree phenology.
- Management of postharvest life through hydro-cooling to maintain the red skin colour and reduce moisture losses.
- Development of quality assurance standards.