Cherry

China cherry potential

China offers great export opportunities to Argentine and Australian cherry growers, says Fruta Cloud
China will become a top cherry market for newcomers Argentina and Australia, despite tariff and fumigation challenges, as cherry demand throughout the country grows, predicts Fruta Cloud.

The Shanghai-based B2B imported fruit service provider said mainland Australia, which gained cherry access last year, has a geographical and transport-cost advantage over top cherry supplier Chile. Meanwhile, Argentina, which also gained cherry access last year, can express-ship its cherries by sea three times a week.

Indeed, Fruta Cloud said it was the first company to introduce Argentine cherries to the market this season by supplying Alibaba Group’s Hema supermarkets.

Fruta Cloud said the export opportunities for Australia and Argentina cherries in China out-weigh the challenges, which for Australia include preserving fruit quality after compulsory fumigation, and for Argentina involve a 10 per cent import tariff and a cold-treatment protocol.

“As the demand for cherries is growing stronger, it is believed that China will become one of the most important exporting markets for Argentinian and Australian cherries. Lucky Chinese consumers are provided with more options for cherries,” Fruta Cloud said in a press release.

Chile is currently China’s top Southern Hemisphere cherry supplier, shipping over 15,000 tonnes of cherries via ocean and sea from late October to the end of February, Fruta Cloud said.

“Chilean cherries have been performing well in recent years owing to their outstanding quality, such as large size and good firmness,” the company said in statement. “Thus Chilean cherries win a good reputation among consumers. In addition, the huge marketing investment from [Chilean exporter association] Asoex in China has also played a significant role in this item’s success.”

After years targetting China’s first-tier cities, Chilean cherry exporters are now focusing on the second and third-tier cities, which have great consumption potential, Fruta Cloud added.

Fruta Cloud said it helped Asoex launch Chilean cherries at Shuangfu Wholesale Market in Chongqing in January this year. “This event successfully ignited the passion for Chilean cherries in Midwest China,” Fruta Cloud said.

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit

Author: Luisa Cheshire 

Australian fresh produce industry gearing up for export security changes

The Australian fresh produce sector is preparing for changes to air cargo export regulations, which will be introduced next week.

From 1 March 2019 all international export air cargo from Australia must be examined at piece-level by a Regulated Air Cargo Agent (RACA), or originate from a Known Consignor, and use technology like x-ray, or be physically inspected.

The Department of Home Affairs says the changes are necessary to strengthen security.

"The Australian Government’s first priority is to keep Australians safe and secure," a spokesperson from the Department of Home Affairs said. "Aviation is an enduring and attractive target for terrorists. The Department has a strong and comprehensive aviation security framework that is continually revised to ensure that we remain ahead of the evolving threat."

The Australian Horticultural Exporters and Importers Association (AHEIA) has previously warned the move will have costly implications on Australian fresh produce industries, and has estimated total added costs to the industry could be up to A$0.22/kg, as well as up to a 24-hour delay at terminals.

The Department of Home Affairs says it has given the industry plenty of notice and that it has pro-actively engaged with industry to foster readiness for including writing directly to exporters.

"Security examination of export air cargo is not new," the spokes-person said. "All export air cargo is already examined prior to uplift onto an aircraft. The requirements being introduced on 1 March 2019 have been in place for United States bound cargo since July 2017. If businesses have questions about how the change will impact their current arrangements, they should contact their supply chain in the first instance."

The Cherry Growers Australia (CGA) are one of many industry groups that have advised their members to prepare themselves for the change, also advising that Currently, 30 per cent of Australian Cherries are exported to more than 30 countries in a highly competitive international market. It adds, that exporting cherries is a specialised market requiring attention and detail to cultural sensitivities, biosecurity, packaging, market access and entry and transportation. The type and variety of cherry exported is determined by market access and cultural tendencies accounting for preferences in taste, colour and flavour.

Exporters who have not already done so, should consider things like: packaging of products, handling of consolidated cargo, scheduling of deliveries, and how cargo is transported to reduce possible changes to delivery times and increased costs, therefore reducing delays. Businesses should also Consider becoming a 'Known Consignor'.

Further information about the change can be found on the Department’s webpage, www.homeaffairs.gov.au/about-us/our-portfolios/transport-security/air-cargo-and-aviation/air-cargo


Publication date : 2/22/2019
Author: matthew@freshplaza.com
© FreshPlaza.com

Australia: Hail causes “significant” losses on cherry orchards in NSW region

A hailstorm that hit Australia in late December has caused substantial losses in a New South Wales region but will not have a significant impact on national volumes this season, according to an industry body.

Although hail was experienced over a wide area of the country last month, damage within the cherry industry is localized to the Orange region, which has been declared an agricultural natural disaster zone.

Cherry Growers Australia president Tom Eastlake said the damage was incurred from one single hail event.

“Orchards in the hail affected area are significantly affected, but not all orchards in Orange are affected,” he said, adding that there have been no impacts on farms outside this area.

Although the Orange orchards have been severely impacted, Eastlake said the hail would not have a significant effect on national volumes for the 2018-19 season, which is now in full swing.

“Expect overall harvest tonnage is to be up this year, however, the drought has affected yields in some areas and rain (and aforementioned hail) will impact total tonnage. The total amount to be harvested now is unknown and may be down on initial expectations, although there is still expected to be an increase on 2017-2018 tonnage,” he said.
Cherries are grown across New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, with small production in Queensland and Western Australia.

Source: https://www.freshfruitportal.com 

New South Wales cherry growers turning to Chinese buyers

Cherry Growers Association Australia president Tom Eastlake is preparing for what could be a game-changing season. Eastlake is one of the many cherry growers around Young (New South Wales) gearing up to export their produce to China for the first time, thanks to relaxed new trade laws.

The climate around Young makes it prime territory for cherries and the NSW Department of Primary Industry said the Young region has seen some of the highest numbers of farmers registering to export to China in the state.

Growers have previously been restricted to sea-freighting their cherries to mainland China market because of Queensland fruit fly contamination fears. Now a new free-trade agreement between Australia and China has allowed growers to airfreight their produce after treating it for fruit fly.

Before the agreement, only growers in Tasmania could airfreight to mainland China, thanks to the island state being fruit fly free, while mainland Australian growers could export to Hong Kong.

But Eastlake said Chile was Australia's biggest competitor for the Chinese market. The South American nation could produce 200,000 tonnes of cherries this season, Mr Eastlake said, while Australian growers are hopeful for a record season this year of 18,000 tonnes.

"But it can be six weeks before the consumers are eating it [Chilean cherries]," Mr Eastlake said, with the majority of Chilean cherries moved by sea freight. Now, theoretically, Young cherries could find themselves on mainland Chinese shelves three days after being picked.

"You just can't beat something that's 72 hours from the tree. You just can't do it. The flavour's better. The appearance is better," he said. "Nowhere in the world can get things to South-East Asia as quickly as we can."

He said growers in Australia needed to get at least $8 a kilogram for cherries just to remain in the industry. "There's no money in it at $7 or $8. We're not making money hand over fist. We're not out there buying Rolls Royces."

Source: canberratimes.com.au via www.freshplaza.com 

Australian cherry crop sizes up well

Early forecasts point to solid national crop, with mainland growers sending directly to China via airfreight
As Australia’s early-season cherry harvest gets underway, hopes are high for a record crop.

Cherry Growers Australia president Tom Eastlake said all major production regions were cropping well, with growers on track to surpass the 16,000 tonne mark for the first time.

“The forecast at the moment depends on how bullish you want to be … we would have to be starting this year at a baseline of 20 per cent higher than 15,000 tonnes, so it will be about 18,000 tonnes," Eastlake told ABC News.

“Assuming we don't have any adverse weather events come through, I would be reasonably confident we hit that mark."

Cherry growers in New South Wales are optimistic about crop forecasts, despite the state being in the grips of drought.

Water storage in the key production hub surrounding the township of Young is down, but many don’t foresee this as a wholesale problem.

“It means we just have to manage our water supply well,” Fiona Hall, managing director of Caernarvon Cherry Co, told Asiafruit. “Good management will mean there will be no impact on the crop as we hope for more rain through early summer.”

The dry spell, coupled with a warm winter, resulted in a later blossom in New South Wales, which has seen a later start to harvest for some growers.

Further south in Victoria, growers are reporting an above average fruit set, although some areas were affected by an early frost at budbreak. This has been compensated by a better than average fruit set on other varieties.

Michael Rouget, managing director of Victorian-based grower-packer-exporter Koala Cherries, said he was expecting a “normal crop to slightly above average" on his orchards.

Cautious optimism for China

Having secured significant market access improvements in January this year, the upcoming 2018/19 campaign will see mainland cherry growers send fruit directly to China via airfreight for the first time. However, it will be with an eye on laying the foundations for what the industry hopes will develop into a lucrative market.

“It is a positive step forward. People are optimistic but cautious given this is new territory for mainland cherry producers in Australia,” Rouget said. “I think this season most growers will trial shipments through this pathway but do it cautiously.”

The new protocol with China requires all mainland cherries grown outside recognised pest free areas to undergo methyl bromide treatment prior to export.

Hugh Molloy of Antico International says an adherence to high-quality will be crucial when it comes to developing market share in China.

“There is specific and unique demand for Australian supply if we can deliver consistent high quality, firm, sweet fruit,” Molloy told Asiafruit. “If this is established over November and December, the sales draw should then flow on into the Tasmanian supply window, which this year is perfectly suited to and timed for the Chinese New Year gifting period.”

 

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit

Author : Matthew Jones

Export demand soaring - Cherry growers expect largest Australian crop ever

Cherry producers across Australia are looking at a bumper season, and early crop forecasts suggest this year's crop will reach new highs, making it Australia's largest cherry crop in history. Consumers might see a higher supply than usual this year, but growers are setting their sights on increasing their export numbers considerably.

Cherry Growers Australia president Tom Eastlake said all production areas were recording a good crop, ranging from a light to heavy crop. The national record for the Australian cherry crop is about 15,000 tonnes.

"The forecast at the moment depends on how bullish you want to be … we would have to be starting this year at a baseline of 20 per cent higher than 15,000 tonnes, so it will be about 18,000 tonnes," Eastlake said. "Assuming we don't have any adverse weather events come through, I would be reasonably confident we hit that mark."

Riverland cherry grower Leon Cotsaris started harvesting early variety cherries at his orchard two weeks ago, and said growing conditions this year were great. "We had a fairly mild spring, which has been pretty good, although it's been very dry.”

He said fruit size and quality this year were good, but dependent on weather conditions in coming weeks.

Cherry Growers Association of South Australia president and Adelaide Hills grower Nick Noske said they had been expecting high yields last year, but many growers' crops were severely damaged by hail and rain.

Abc.net.au reports that despite a bumper crop, consumers might not see extreme price drops this season as growers look to export markets. Due to the reopening of the Vietnamese market and new market access to China last year, demand for Australian cherries is high.


Publication date : 11/6/2018

Source: www.freshplaza.com

Taste Australia yields big results in foreign trade

In the 12 months since Hort Innovation launched its boldest foreign trade initiative to date, the industry has reported record export sales and greater demand for Australian grown produce.

Underpinned by more than $40 million in research and development projects, and backed by world-class science and technology, the Taste Australia initiative was developed in response to industry calls for a cohesive, national export project to drive foreign interest and demand for Australian horticultural products.

The initiative was launched at Asia Fruit Logistica (AFL) last year, which is the largest specialised fruit and vegetable trade event in Asia. The project proved so successful, it is now being rolled out in 10 countries across Asia and the Middle East.

Australian growers will once again showcase their premium products under the Taste Australia banner at AFL next week with a Hort Innovation delegation of more than 220 stakeholders, representing 80 Australian businesses across 528 square metres.

The extensive trade effort over the last 12 months saw the value of fresh horticultural exports reach a record $2.18 billion for the year ending June 2018, with over 40 per cent of this value being driven by the export of citrus fruits, table grapes and cherries.

Hort Innovation General Manager for Trade, Michael Rogers, said the export results not only demonstrated the value of Taste Australia activities, but also positioned the Australian horticultural industry well within foreign markets.

“Australia has a solid reputation for delivering high-end produce that has undergone the most rigorous inspections along all stages of the supply chain, and the Taste Australia brand builds on this,” he said.

“We have been exhibiting at Asia Fruit Logistica for more than 10 years. When Taste Australia launched last year, we found it increased our engagement with key stakeholders across Asia."

“Through the Taste Australia brand, we are strengthening our homegrown produce on a global stage, bringing high quality, high-end premium goods to international markets.”

The Taste Australia campaign is funded by Hort Innovation using industry research, development and marketing levies and funds from the Australian Government.

Key Export Statistics
In the year ending June 2018, more than 264,000 tonnes of fresh citrus was exported valued at more than $440 million. Citrus exports were dominated by oranges ($280 million) and mandarins ($140 million).

Export values across combined citrus (including grapefruit, lemons, limes, mandarins, oranges) increased 48 per cent in just two years from $297 Million in 2015/16.

The single most valuable horticulture product exported was table grapes, achieving exports valued at $384 million. The value of table grape exports has grown consecutively over the last seven years.

For more information;
Farah Abdurahman
Tel: +61 447 304 255
Email: Farah.Abdurahman@horticulture.com.au
www.tasteaustralia.net.au
Publication date: 9/3/2018

 

Source: http://www.freshplaza.com

Tariff elimination to boost Australian cherries in China, says importer

Australian cherries are set to benefit from the elimination of tariffs in the Chinese market from the start of next year, according to one importer.

A free trade agreement was signed between the two countries in 2014, with Australian cherry exporters to be subject to zero-tariffs in China from Jan. 1, 2019.

Huang Xianhua, general manager of Shanghai Oheng Import & Export Co., told Fresh Fruit Portal Australian cherries would therefore be on a level playing field with Chile in terms of tariffs.

Chile signed an FTA with China in 2005, and sends the vast majority of its cherries to the Asian country.

Xianhua added that Australia’s higher production costs compared to Chile would be partially offset by its relative proximity to the market, while will save freight costs and make the country more competitive.

Australia is expected to produce a record 18,000 metric tons (MT) of cherries this year, with a little under half due to be exported, according to a USDA forecast. Meanwhile, Chile is expecting to export similar volumes to last season, which saw a huge export rise to 180,000MT.

And according to Xianhua, Chile faces numerous challenges with cherries.

“The processing capacity during the peak of harvest is insufficient, production is easily affected by weather conditions, and the quality is inconsistent, but they are hesitant to invest in protection such as rain nets if the investment it too big,” he said.

U.S.-China trade war
Xianhua also said that the U.S.-China trade war has led to a poor performance of U.S. cherries in the Chinese market this year. China has risen tariffs on the fruit by 40% over recent months, with the latest round coming into effect on July 6.

“This is an enormous cost and is unable to completely be shifted to the consumer end. In the end, the importers have to pay this extra bill,” he said.

Many importers stopped bringing in U.S. cherries while those who continued have run into difficulties, he said.

Other origins have been unable to fill the supply gap, he added.

“There is no [country] that can fully replace it. Canada’s supply is still limited, and Central Asian’s season is too early, also the quality is not good enough and they also have to worry about cold treatment,” he said.

 

Source: https://www.freshfruitportal.com

USDA to purchase US$500M of produce as part of trade war assistance

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says it will purchase more than US$200 million of apples and cherries as part of its assistance programs to growers impacted by tariffs implemented by countries like China.

A total of a little more than US$500 million will be spent on fruits, vegetables and tree nuts under the Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) Food Purchase and Distribution Program, which has a total budget of US$1.2 billion.

The Food Purchase and Distribution Program is one of three programs – along with the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) and the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) – with a total value of US$12 billion recently announced for farmers affected by “unjustified retaliation by foreign nations.”

China has implemented heavy tariffs on all U.S. agricultural exports, while Mexico has set duties for imports of some fruits including apples.

The amounts of commodities to be purchased through the AMS program are based on “an economic analysis of the damage caused by unjustified tariffs imposed on the crops listed below,” the USDA said.

“Their damages will be adjusted based on several factors and spread over several months in response to orders placed by states participating in the FNS nutrition assistance programs,” it said.

The USDA has set aside US$111.5 million for sweet cherries, US$93.4 million for apples, US$85.2 million for pistachios, US$63.3 million for almonds US$55.6 for fresh oranges, US$48.2 million for grapes, US$44.5 million for potatoes, US$34.6 million for walnuts and US$32.8 million for cranberries.

For cherries and almonds, the USDA said the program details are yet to be defined, and these two commodities were not included in the program’s US$1.2 billion budget.

For fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, assistance was also announced for apricots, blueberries, figs, grapefruit, hazelnuts, kidney beans, lemons/limes, Macadamia nuts, Navy beans, orange juice, pears, peas, pecans, plums/prunes, strawberries and sweetcorn.

“Early on, the President instructed me, as Secretary of Agriculture, to make sure our farmers did not bear the brunt of unfair retaliatory tariffs,” said Perdue.

Perdue said that after careful analysis, this strategy has been formulated to mitigate the trade damages sustained by farmers.

“President Trump has been standing up to China and other nations, sending the clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate their unfair trade practices, which include non-tariff trade barriers and the theft of intellectual property,” he said.

“In short, the President has taken action to benefit all sectors of the American economy – including agriculture – in the long run.

“It’s important to note all of this could go away tomorrow, if China and the other nations simply correct their behavior. But in the meantime, the programs we are announcing today buys time for the President to strike long-lasting trade deals to benefit our entire economy.”

Click here to view the USDA press release.

 

Source: www.freshfruitportal.com 

Northwest cherry harvest kicks off

The region has been spared by heavy winter damage and is looking likely to meet its 23m-carton estimate
The Northwest cherry industry is looking well positioned to meet its crop estimate of 23m cartons.

Last Friday, harvest was predicted to kick off over the following few days and will be easing into full swing this week. It will take the industry around two weeks to begin reaching the 200,000 carton-a-day mark.

Following a growers meeting in May which collected predicted yield data, industry volunteers have gathered on-the-ground orchard data for an official crop estimate.

The estimate came in at 23m 20lb (9kg) cartons, after a series of four estimates covering nearly three-quarters of the industry’s orchards.

Field reports have come back with instances of fewer flowers per bud, which would typically translate into larger and better fruit as the tree’s growing energy is distributed into fewer cherries. The Northwest Cherry Growers Association noted that the larger fruit will impact total production and overall shipping velocities by region and variety.

Despite a low yielding season for the California cherry crop, the Northwest was spared heavy winter damage.

In the month of June, the association predicts 9m cartons of cherries will be shipped out, ahead of last year’s 7.7m. The Yakima Valley has warmed up early this year, meaning there will be four Northwest regions shipping simultaneously.

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit

Author: Camellia Aebischer

E-retail, not e-commerce: China’s fast-changing online market for fresh fruit

In China the question isn’t whether you sell online but how. In the fruit trade it pays to understand the nuances of various e-commerce platforms, so much so that Frutacloud CEO George Liu believes ‘e-retail’ is a better term for the phenomenon which is sweeping its way towards 20% penetration in the fresh produce market.

“If you do business in China you have to use WeChat,” said Liu early on in his presentation at the Global Cherry Summit in Chile last week.

For the experienced China hands Liu was merely stating the obvious but for others his comment was likely a wake-up call to get accounts with the service, which is like Facebook meets Whatsapp with a digital payment element as well.

And in modern China digital payments have become the norm. Liu highlighted there were now 731 million Chinese citizens on the internet, which is more than the United States and India combined. Of these people, 70% make regular payments online.

“And with many of these Chinese internet users, they first went online through their mobile phones,” Liu said.

“A lot of these people don’t have email accounts. So we call these people mobile digital natives – they conduct their daily lives through mobile apps.

“It is very common in China that the small merchant will only accept digital payments.”

He said this evolution meant shopping habits could be tracked, analyzed and charted.

“This gives a huge advantage to those people who hold the data. Here’s another thing for consideration – the national disposable income growth has been increasing every year,” he said.

“Some of you may have heard that GDP growth is slowing down in China, but I think this [disposable income growth] is a better indication of the overall growth in China.”

Liu pointed to a 9% growth rate in the national resident disposable income level last year, up from 8.4% growth in 2016.

“Such high growth of income is what you would call the consumption upgrade,” he said.

“Consumption upgrade means that Chinese people with money now want to buy better food, they want to buy imported product instead of domestic, and they want to buy fresh fruit instead of mass-produced junk food.

“This is wonderful for the Chilean cherry industry.”

The disposable income growth measure also helps for understanding opportunities in the interior. It is now common knowledge that fruit exporters need to break through the first tier cities, but Liu made a deeper argument than the sheer business case.

“The disposable income here is rising faster compared to the first tier cities, and the housing cost is more affordable so people have more money to spend on other items,” he said.

“In the past one of the obstacles in developing market share was the lack of cold chain logistics, but now many players including us are investing heavily in the distribution network.

And while in the first tier cities of Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen there are around 78 million people, Liu emphasized the population in second tier cities was around 236 million.

A brief summary of China’s e-retail platforms

Liu broke down China’s e-retail market into four broad categories that have evolved over time. The original of these is ‘comprehensive e-commerce’, dominated by Alibaba’s Tmall.com and Tencent’s JD.com.

Both these companies incidentally own or have connections to various alternative e-retail platforms as well as conventional retail, with notable examples being Tencent’s partnership with Walmart in China as well as investments in Fruitday.

“However I think this type of [comprehensive] e-commerce is getting very saturated. Growth has slowed down and also the delivery and packaging costs for this type of e-commerce, especially for fresh fruits, are very high,” Liu said.

He said these services tended to use third-party providers like DHL, with the cost of using a box, a bag and including ice packs making up approximately 30% of the final selling price.

The second category is known as ‘vertical fresh produce’, involving players like Benlai, Fruitday and Missfresh which “don’t sell anything else except fresh product”.

“Usually they build their own logistics system to deliver better fruit to the customer,” Liu said.

Vertical integration requires heavy investment in cold chain logistics and warehousing, according to Liu, so players in this space tend to focus on specific geographies, such as Missfresh in the north and Fruitday in Shanghai.

“They’re facing similar challenges including high building costs, high packing costs so a lot of them are diversifying through acquisition in traditional retail, or they invent something new like a self-service kiosk,” he said.

The third type of platform is ‘fresh specialty O2O’, which stands for online-to-offline.

“Here there are two leaders. Pagoda and Xianfeng combined have about 4,000 stores in China. These stores are small and close to residential areas, so in such close proximity they can deliver fruit to their customer within an hour,” he said.

Liu described the final category as ‘new retail’, including such outfits as Hema, 7Fresh and Super Species.

“This was started only three years ago by Hema Fresh, which is also owned by Alibaba, and this is no doubt the hottest and most competitive retail space in China,” he said.

“I think there are three key aspects that differentiate new retail from the regular supermarket – first these stores are built from the ground up to support online development.

“They often have a unified imagery management system and some mechanism to support fast pick-up from within the store. Second of all they place a big focus on fresh product and shopping experience. Fresh produce will usually account for more than half of the floor space.”

But in Liu’s view the most important aspect of new retail is that you can only make digital payments, and the experience serves as a hook for mobile digital natives.

“Together with all the data they have about you they can give you the most personalized suggestions,” he said.

“The eventual goal for all the ‘new retail’ is for you to first experience in store but then for the repeat purchase to go through your mobile phone.

“You place an order on your mobile app and somebody in the store will pick up all your products, put it in a little bag, and it will be transported to one of these guys on a bike or a motorbike outside to deliver to you.”

Liu said the model required a lot of capital investment, which is why most of the players involved are large companies.

“In the U.S. people have heard big news about Amazon buying Whole Foods but this has happened on a much bigger scale in China.”

www.freshfruitportal.com

Cherry industry must get quality right at the farm level, urges Aussie grower

A leading Australian cherry grower has called on the industry worldwide to lift quality from the very start of the supply chain, emphasizing that a “packing shed is not a hospital” where fruit can just be fixed up post-harvest.

Speaking at the Global Cherry Summit last week, Tim Jones of Wandin Valley Farms told attendees standards would need to be high and logistics improved for the international market to handle the increase in volume that’s on its way.

“For me there has been an absolute strong message here for us, not just for our business but as an industry. We’ve heard the word ‘quality’ mentioned and we’ve heard the word ‘taste’,” Jones said.

“I think as a farmer, as a cherry grower, we have to really listen to those things, because if you look at the Chinese market where it’s more and more going online, the consumer is not going to get the chance to go and pick those cherries from a retail outlet.

“The first time they see those cherries is when they open that box and they look in there, and their expectations with cherries are very high.”

Jones was part of a small Australian contingent at the conference, which also included representatives of major Tasmanian cherry producer-exporter Reid Fruits.

“I’m also a firm believer in getting things right at the farm. We have a fairly small packing facility in comparison to some of the big guys in the States or in Chile, but a packing shed is not a hospital and we can’t fix up things in the packing shed,” he said.

This recommendation is for all growers but will be of particular relevance to Chile, the world’s top exporter and a country that is expected to double its volume within four or five years.

“It’s very very difficult if you’re not set up as an industry, in any country, to deliver good fresh produce generally,” he said.

“But for cherries it is a different thing to grow and move, and get to the consumer in the right shape. We have to really look to the future how we’re going to handle them.”

Wandin Valley Farms has orchards in northern Victoria as well as in southern Tasmania, a state that like Chile enjoys a fruit fly-free status. While there has been a recent outbreak in the state’s north, the source has been found and there is a confidence in the industry that the pest will be eradicated.

Jones also gave a brief summary of Australia’s unique growing conditions to attendees at the international event.

“Firstly it’s my pleasure to be here in Chile. It’s my first visit and I’ve met some superb people,” he said.

“We’re farmers ourselves, and one thing I can see is that we all have very similar things in common.”

But with regards to Australia, he highlighted most of the country’s cherry production was in hot areas.

“We have two specific areas of production; one is based on the mainland of Australia and the other is based in Tasmania,” he said.

“Those growing regions cross just slightly and the other thing we have which is quite different, which many people may not be aware of, is the Australian mainland has some nasty pests and diseases that stop us from supplying many areas around the world.”

More specifically in the cherry industry, this means Queensland fruit fly in the eastern states and Mediterranean fruit fly in Western Australia.

“Whereas Tasmania, they are classed as a pest-free state and this pest freedom status is very valuable to them as it allows them to access many markets, where from the mainland we cannot access,” he said.

“That is changing over time, as our industry develops much closer relationships with our government who then undertake various negotiations with other countries.

“Unfortunately, that takes a long process to negotiate new ways to trade, but as far as Australia goes, we’re very small in world market scale. We only produce 20,000 [metric] tons, which is very small in comparison to Chile or Washington or many places in and around Europe.”

But he did however highlight Australia’s benefits in the category due to “strong air freight capability” out of eastern Australia into Southeast Asian markets.

“Our focus is very much on freshness, and Australia is in a tremendous position because we have got fantastic growing conditions in our country,” he said.

“We may have a very small population but we get a lot of sunlight and it’s very clean air, and we are capable of producing high quality cherries, also high quality grapes.

“We are quite well-known around the world for having sweet grapes and of a high quality, and the one thing we’re extremely focused on as an industry is, from our own industry’s and companys’ perspectives, we are very focused on varietal choice.”

www.freshfruitportal.com