Slowdown, what slowdown?

China's 2018 fresh fruit imports are up 36 per cent over the prior year, despite the country's slowing economic growth
China’s 2018 fresh fruit import figures reflect no signs of the country’s reported economic slowdown, recording a 36 per cent rise in value over the prior year.

According to Fresh Intelligence analysis of the latest China Customs figures, China imported a total of 4.8m tonnes of fresh fruit in 2018, worth US$6.9bn. This is up from the 3.8m tonnes valued at US$5.1bn imported in 2017, and achieved during a year when China recorded its slowest economic growth since 1990.

Imports from Chile, Thailand and the Philippines showed the greatest growth in 2018: up 68 per cent, 67 per cent and 42 per cent respectively in value terms over the previous year, the data showed.

Chile was just ahead of Thailand as the largest supplier by value due to the high prices of its cherries and grapes, Fresh Intelligence’s Wayne Prowse explained. In volume terms Chile ranked fourth after Vietnam (1.23m tonnes), the Philippines (1.16m tonnes) and Thailand (767, 472 tonnes) with 387,728 tonnes in 2018.

Meanwhile, Thai imports increased 67 per cent in value over 2017, and were dominated by durians and mangosteens.

The Philippines ranked third in import value growth terms, with mostly bananas and pineapples, and was followed by Vietnam, with dragonfruit and longans.

New Zealand imports, mostly kiwifruit and apples, saw a 21 per cent growth in value during 2018, while Australia was just behind, dominated by grapes and citrus and showing growth of 19 per cent.

The US slipped to seventh from fifth position in China’s 2018 import value rankings, and was the only major trading partner to lose value by 31 per cent, the figures showed.

The US export decline to China reflects the impact of retaliatory tariffs and stricter customs controls on US imports due to the diplomatic tensions between the two countries, which began in July 2018.


Author: Luisa Cheshire

Philippine bananas eyeing Australia

Asian nation hopes to gain access soon and diversify exports as global competition with South America tightens.

Once the primary concern of black sigatoka disease is addressed, Manila is hopeful it will gain access to Australia for Philippine bananas.

In a bid to diversify its export portfolio amid growing pressure from South American banana suppliers, the country is exploring new markets for its major export commodity.

Later this month, the Bureau of the Plant Industry and the Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Association (BPGEA) will submit technical documents to Canberra covering comprehensive Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures.

Stephen Antig, president of the BPGEA said Australia is likely to be a small market, considering it has banana plantations and its own banana export programmes. However, he noted that Philippine bananas can maintain a competitive advantage in price point as they are cheaper than locally-grown Australian bananas.

Business Mirror reported that in late November, the Philippines and Australia held a round of agricultural talks in Canberra focusing on SPS concerns. In that meeting, a six-month timeframe was set for Australia to evaluate documents and decide on if it would pass Manila’s SPS and quarantine standards.

Agriculture undersecretary Ariel Cayanan said the Philippines is optimistic it would overcome SPS concerns set by Australia.

He said the industry has a very early response to sigatoka, destroying a plant upon detection at its roots, before the disease can spread further. “If we see something wrong with the roots, we address it immediately and the plant will not grow anymore.”

According to a report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, in 2018 the Philippines regained its place as the second-largest global supplier of bananas, with Ecuador in the lead.

Source: Author: Camellia Aebischer

Philippines launch of ‘Taste Australia’

‘Taste Australia’ is an innovative campaign to promote fresh Australian produce in the Philippines. It was launched this week at the Australian Embassy.

Filipinos are increasingly aware of Australian fruit and vegetables and demand for these product is on the rise. Australian fruit exports to the Philippines grew from A$ 500,000 (€315,000) in 2010 to A$ 20 million (€12.6 mln) in 2017.

The first Australian products to be promoted under the Taste Australia campaign are fresh Australian grapes which are in season from March until May. These will be available in leading retail stores such as Rustan’s Supermarkets, Shopwise, Robinsons, S&R and SM.

The Taste Australia event saw trend watcher Michelle Aventajado take charge of a cook-up between Bondi and Bourke’s Australian owner Chef Wade Watson and the Australian Ambassador’s official chef Edwin Ferrer. reports how the Taste Australia campaign is a unique collaboration between Hort Innovation, the Victorian Government and Austrade and is designed to help increase the profile, sales and consumption of premium fruit and vegetables in the Philippines.

Publication date: 4/13/2018

Philippine government to support banana exports to Australia

The Department of Agriculture has promised to help facilitate the entry of Philippine bananas onto the Australian market, which has been closed to Filipino exporters for more than two decades. Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said he would be willing to broker a meeting between Filipino banana exporters belonging to the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association and Australian officials. quoted him as saying: “The possible reopening of the Australian market is a welcome development for us and for me. I find it unfair that the Philippines buy beef and other meat products from Australia, when our local products could not enter their market.”

The Filipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association has certainly showed its interest to export bananas to Australia after that nation’s ambassador to the Philippines, Amanda Gorely, said Canberra is willing to cooperate. During a BusinessMirror Coffee Club forum last month, Gorely said her government is willing to assist exporters comply with the Australian animal health and plant regulations so they can again access the Australian market. However, she added that no Philippine exporter has approached Canberra, signifying an interest to ship bananas to Australia.

Gorely claims that Filipino exporters prioritize Asian markets such as Japan and South Korea, where they have a bigger share compared to Australia where banana production is sufficient to meet domestic demand.

In 2002, Manila filed a complaint against Australia at the World Trade Organization for its de facto ban on Philippine bananas. Manila argued that Philippine bananas were no threat to Australian bananas because they were not intended to fulfil Australia’s entire demand. To date, the dispute has yet to be resolved.

Publication date: 2/27/2018


Australian oranges come to 7-Eleven convenience stores in the Philippines

The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) and Citrus Australia, in partnership with Philippines Seven Corp. (7-Eleven Philippines), recently launched the “Australian Oranges: Now In Season” campaign to highlight the availability of quality, safe, sweet and healthy Australian oranges exclusively in select 7-Eleven stores in the Philippines.

“Australia is pleased to bring to Filipinos healthy snack options and we are happy that 7-Eleven Philippines came onboard this year to bring deliciously safe and healthy Australian oranges closer to Filipino consumers,” said Elodie Journet, Australian embassy senior trade and investment commissioner to the Philippines and Micronesia.

“The Australian citrus industry sees great opportunities in the Philippine market and we are looking forward to further expand the availability [of the produce] throughout the country. Partnering with 7-Eleven is one of the steps toward that goal,” Citrus Australia Citrus Market Access Manager David Daniels commented.



Publication date: 10/25/2017

Citrus industry surprised by growth in unfamiliar new markets of Philippines, Canada


The peak body for Australia's citrus industry says it has been taken by surprise by the success of two formerly "non-existent" markets that have leapt to become among its top export destinations.

Canada and the Philippines are now in the top 12 export destinations for Australian citrus, each consuming nearly 6,000 tonnes of fruit a year.

Market access manager with Citrus Australia, David Daniels, said the growth is exciting, particularly as the Philippines economy continues to grow.

"A few years ago those markets were almost non-existent," he said.

"I can't say why that is, but certainly in the Philippines we've put a lot of effort in marketing and working in partnership with the Victorian Government and AusTrade to do point-of-sale material and work with their supermarkets.

"We never really thought it would happen this quickly or we would see such substantial volumes.

"In my first trip to the Philippines I didn't think we'd do much more than a handful of containers per year. Six thousand tonnes is quite a surprise."

Business news publisher Forbes placed the Philippines is the second-fastest growing economy in east Asia, second only to Lao and ahead of China, in its March analysis.

Mr Daniels said now that Australia has a strong foothold in many markets the challenge is for growers to produce fruit tailored for foreign consumers.

"It really is about growing to market requirements and knowing what the end consumer wants," he said.

"What size fruit, what grade, how sweet they want it. And there are certain cultural practices.

"The good growers are doing that already, they are growing their crops specifically for a market and have been doing that for the last 20 years."

Source: ABC Vic Country Hour. Author: Emma Brown

Image: Orange Pixabay_Hans