Backing Aussie rockmelon on the world stage

Media Release
Minister David Littleproud
Minister for Agriculture & Water Resources

The Coalition Government is providing a grant of $100,200 to help the melon industry get back on its feet after the February 2018 listeria outbreak.

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said the outbreak on a single melon farm was a tragedy which resulted in six deaths in Australia.

“What happened earlier this year was absolutely tragic,” Minister Littleproud said.

“The human cost was huge for those who ate those melons and for the families and friends of those who died.

“The outbreak gutted the industry hurting farmers thousands of kilometres from the source.

“Industry estimates it cost about $60-million because growers couldn’t sell their fruit and had to leave it on the vine to rot.

“Since then the Australian Melon Association and Horticulture Innovation Australia have been working hard to significantly improve on-farm food safety practices.

“Before this outbreak, Australian rockmelons where sought-after internationally, and we are going to help them regain that status.

“Through this funding we are working with the Australian Melon Association (AMA) to re-establish key markets such as Singapore, New Zealand, Japan and Malaysia.

“This grant will help the melon industry to get boots on the ground overseas with trade visits by teams of expert growers, exporters and food safety scientists.

“It will also help the AMA to develop marketing and communications materials to distribute to export markets, Austrade in-market offices and relevant government and health authorities.

“I congratulate the AMA for being proactive in working for rockmelon growers to get their market share back.”

Dianne Fullelove
Industry Development Manager
Australian Melon Association Inc
Mobile: 0413 101 646
Email: idp@melonsaustralia.org.au

Vietnam wants its mangoes to be a key export product

The South Vietnamese province of Dong Thap, the largest mango producer in the Mekong Delta with 9,200 hectares and an annual production of almost 100 thousand tons, intends to turn this fruit into a key export product by 2020.

According to Nguyen Thanh Tai, the deputy director of the local Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, to achieve this purpose, Dong Thap has invested in improving its technological infrastructure, a levee system, and agricultural technology in order to achieve Global Good Agricultural Practices (Global GAP) and remarkable results in the post harvest industry.

He said that two areas devoted to growing mango in the city of Cao Lanh, which have a combined extension of 33 hectares, had achieved Global GAP standards, while two other areas, which together amount to more than 48 hectares, met the standards of Good Agricultural Practices of Vietnam (VietGAP).

So far, said Thanh Tai, the town has developed six safe mango production areas with an area of ​​more than 416 hectares, and it has registered the intellectual property of its Cat Chu Cao Lanh and Mango Cao Lanh brands.

Thanh Tai highlighted that the province had managed to maintain the mango supply throughout the year.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Phuong Tuyen, the head of the Office of Technology and Information Technology Research of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the province wouldn't expand the cultivation areas of mango in the future, but that it would focus on investing in storage and processing areas to improve the mango's production value chain.

Under contracts signed more than two years ago, Dong Thap exported 100 to 200 tons of mango each month to Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong (China), and New Zealand.

Tran Van Ha, from the University of Can Tho, advised Dong Thap to foster connectivity among farmers and between farmers and businesses to boost production, one of the key pillars of the province's agricultural restructuring strategy.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Bao Ve, the former director of the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Can Tho, said that the province should manage the maintenance of this fruit tree to improve the quality of mango, while concentrating on diversifying products to meet the demands of the market.


Source: VNA via www.freshplaza.com

Publication date: 7/3/2018

Abbotsleigh Citrus featured in Bundaberg promotion

Abbotsleigh Citrus, purchased by Nutrano Produce Group in 2016, is one of the major businesses featured in an industry promotional video by Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers.

Nutrano CEO and Managing Director, Steven Chaur, said it was a tribute to the staff at Abbotsleigh Citrus that the farm has become a pin-up performer for the region.

“We are delighted for our Abbotsleigh Citrus farm to have been chosen as a showcase for the success of horticulture in this highly productive region,” Mr Chaur said.

The 190-hectare farm has over 60,000 citrus trees, growing some of the finest lemons in Australia, as well as Imperial, Hickson and Honey Murcott mandarins. In 2011, blueberries were added successfully to the mix, and Abbotsleigh now produces 800 tonnes annually under nets.

Mr Chaur said Abbotsleigh Citrus farm is exceptionally well suited to growing citrus, with deep, well drained alluvial soils, minimal frost, and access to high-quality, reliable irrigation water from the Burnett River which surrounds the farm.

“As a vertically integrated business, we grow, pack, market and transport our quality produce to ensure that customers receive the freshest produce possible, every time."

“Our packing shed at Abbotsleigh Citrus covers 4,500 square meters and is fitted with a modern packing line, including a state of the art blemish grader and computerised equipment capable of packing in excess of 120 tonnes per day."

“Another key attribute of the Bundaberg region is access to labour, with a strong local community, seasonal worker program and as a great working-holiday destination for back packers,” Mr Chaur said.

For more information;
Jonathan Raymond
Tel: +61 (613) 9663 3222
jonathan@medialinkproductions.com
www.nutrano.com.au

Publication date: 7/2/2018

 

Source and image: www.freshplaza.com

 

Australian supermarket chain Coles vows to stop importing lemons

Major Australian supermarket chain Coles announced on Monday it would cease importing lemons and instead stock Australian-grown fruit year-round, Weekly Times Now reported.

It said this would include the window between December and January when most Australian growers struggled to produce a commercial crop and retailers were left to rely on imports to fill the void.

Coles general manager Brad Gorman said the move to close the summer supply gap was part of the retail chain’s “Australian-first” sourcing policy.

Citrus Australia chairman Ben Cant said it was good news for growers.

“Otherwise those lemons would need to be sold in a peak production period, which would push prices down,” Cant was quoted as saying.

“So anything we can do to ease the bubbles of supply, the better the returns are on average for growers.”

Queensland lemon growers Kathleen and Stephen Stenhouse, from Bundaberg, said many citrus suppliers talked about bridging the import gap.

Australia is a net lemon importer, with most coming from the US.

www.freshfruitportal.com

Vietnam: UNIDO promotes post-harvest excellence for mangoes

Mekong River Delta


The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the People’s Committee of the Dong Thap province invited over 120 high-level participants from the public and private sector to discuss opportunities to strengthen the mango value chain, and to build a modern mango export system for Vietnam.

With a total area of 43,000 hectares and an output of 500,000 tons per year, mango is one of the key fruit trees in, and one of the main income sources of the Mekong Delta with high international potential in markets such as China, Japan, Korea and Russia. However, at 27 per cent, the post-harvest loss rate is very high.

Karl Schebesta from UNIDO introduced the Centre of Excellence approach to strengthen the mango value chain: “The centre offers appropriate models and upgraded technologies to improve the quality of agricultural products; to reduce post-harvest losses; and to improve the organizational and managerial production structure in rural areas.”

Located in the city of Cao Lanh in the Dong Thap province, the centre was set-up in close cooperation with Kim Nhung Company to also serve as a model for replication and upscaling. By working with the centre, the company improved its capacity from 15 - 20 tons per day to 60 tons per day. At the same time, the post-harvest loss rate at over 300 participating farms reduced to 50, 30 and now 15 per cent.

“All these are key elements allowing to increase the income while improving the livelihood of small-holder farmers and their families,” MARD’s Nguyen Minh Tien told europeansting.com, adding: “This proves that applying proper post-harvest technology along the value chain is the solution, which can be scaled-up and applied to other agro value chains, also in other provinces of Vietnam.”

Publication date: 6/26/2018

Source: www.freshplaza.com

New guide speaks Mandarin QA for growers

Australian Murcott mandarin growers have a new tool to help them win export sales, with backing from the national Farming Together program.

Developed for the Queensland Citrus Exporters Group, the new training materials will ensure quality standards, including fruit appearance, to secure domestic and export sales.

A QA manual, standards booklet and poster were developed through the Australian Government-backed Farming Together program to reduce the variability of fruit being offered to buyers.

Project officer Zane Nicholls from Nambour said: “It was a great project and one that is very usable elsewhere. Many growers in this industry – and others – can benefit from this.”

Farming Together consultant Chris Capel helped the group develop the tools, including a 56-page Murcott variety manual. “The guide will provide an instant source of information on quality parameters for all current packing facilities to fine-tune their controls,” she said. The project also included training sessions and benchmarking exercises and a poster designed to be displayed in packaging-shed lunchrooms and quality control zones.

“These products have been delivered to group members with favourable feedback,” said Chris. “The information will be of extreme importance for any new business, staff member or emerging industry looking for a reference point.

“This opportunity will allow the project legacy to remain for many years. It will provide a lasting impression on the Murcott export market.”

Chris said the tools could also be shared with other mandarin-growing regions and producers. “The products could definitely be retrofit to suit other citrus industries, for example, lemons. There may even be wider appeal across horticulture industries for these products than anticipated.”

Zane said Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries would be extending the Farming Together work to improve the uniformity of Murcotts packed for export markets. “That will build on Australia’s reputation for delivering quality produce,” he added.

Farming Together program director Lorraine Gordon said: “The growing international appetite for Australian citrus fruit requires conformity of standards. We congratulate the Queensland growers for collaborating in this project.”

The Farm Co-operative and Collaboration Program (known as Farming Together) is a two-year, $13.8m initiative from the Australian Government designed to help agricultural groups value-add, secure premium pricing, scale-up production, attract capital investment, earn new markets or secure lower input costs.

In less than two years Farming Together has had contact with more than 21,000 farmers, making it possibly Australia’s largest farmer agency. It has supported more than 730 collaborative farm, fish and forestry groups. In its first year the program turned a $9.21m Australian Government investment into $20.45m of value-added production, creating 131 full-time equivalent jobs. And in less than a year it fostered 180 co-ops, possibly the largest number of co-ops in Australian farming history.

The Farming Together pilot program is being delivered by Southern Cross University and runs until 30 June 2018. The program delivery team comprises highly experienced senior staff drawn from a wide range of commodity groups from across Australia and is backed by an industry advisory group representing experts from Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and NSW.

For more info: www.farmingtogether.com.au 


Publication date: 6/21/2018

Season of Australian orange exports to China about to kick off

"Bleak finish for Egyptian orange import season"

China has entered the final week for the selection and packaging of late-season oranges. The 2017 orange production season has come to an end. At the same time, US oranges, Egyptian oranges, and Spanish oranges are all entering the final stage of their production seasons. The overall condition of the Chinese orange market during the last production season was depressed. The market condition was similarly disastrous for imported Egyptian oranges. Most importers suffered losses from the beginning of the production season until the very end. Only the quality of late-season Spanish oranges was relatively good and had some potential for profit.

Australia and South Africa have begun to select and package oranges for the upcoming, scorching hot Chinese summer. Mr. Xie Jinshan, CEO of the Shenzhen GoldAnda Agricultural Technology Development Co., Ltd. (hereafter GoldAnda) recently visited Nippys farms in Australia and the Gogo farms in South Africa. He stated that Australian orange production has slightly decreased this year, but the fruit size is slightly larger than last year. A larger share of the production volume meets the requirement for export to China. The taste and sweetness is also better than last year.

The production volume of South African oranges increased, but the fruit size is slightly smaller than last year. The area recently suffered from hail and other extreme weather conditions, but this only had limited influence on the overall production volume.

GoldAnda is a global leader in orange retail. They annually sell more than 1000 shipping containers full of oranges. GoldAnda has developed a strong cooperation with Australian Nippys in recent years. Together they have worked hard to make Nippys the number one Australian orange brand in China. At the same time, GoldAnda developed a good working relation with high-end South African brand Gogo. Their import volume has increased by 30%. Australian and South African oranges are already underway to Chinese ports and will soon arrive.

Xie Jinshan - CEO
GoldAnda
Shenzhen GoldAnda Agricultural Technology Development Co., Ltd.
Website: www.goldanda.com
Telephone number: +86 755 2515 4488
E-mail address: goldanda@goldanda.com

Publication date: 6/7/2018
Source: www.freshplaza.com

Mexican avocado producers seek to export to Australia and New Zealand

The Broad and Progressive Agreement of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), also known as the TPP-11, has allowed Mexican avocado producers to set their sights on the markets of Australia and New Zealand.

The two countries are important avocado producers in that region, but they have a very marked seasonal crop and, therefore, are complementary markets, said Ramon Paz Vega, the strategic adviser of the Association of Producers and Packers Exporters of Avocado in Mexico (APEAM).

Given this situation, and coupled with the growing demand in both nations, Mexico could take advantage of this opportunity and export its avocados to these markets when they lack local production, Paz Vega stated in an interview with Notimex.

Even though its difficult to enter these two markets because of the strict phytosanitary measures they have, Mexico has already started some negotiations in order to enter them.

For the moment, Mexico will continue exporting its avocados to Japan, where 95 percent of the avocado is imported from Mexico, which doesn't have any tariffs or any other barrier for this product there, he said.

Singapore is also an attractive market for Mexican avocados and producers expect to send at least four thousand tons of avocados there at the end of the harvest season, i.e. on June 30, he said.

Paz Vega also said this year's production would amount to just over two million tons, i.e. 10 percent more than the previous year. 835 thousand tons of the production will be sent to the United States, the main export market of the Mexican product.

The CPTPP represents a market of 372 million potential consumers and representatives of the 11 countries of the Asia-Pacific region - Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam - signed the agreement on March 8.

This established the largest free trade area in the world, with modern disciplines that meet the challenges of 21st century economies.

According to the Ministry of Economy (SE), Mexico will obtain significant and immediate access to 90 percent of the block's market. This will allow it to diversify its economy by opening preferential access to six new markets -Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam - and deepen its access to the Japanese agricultural market.


Source: Notimex via www.freshplaza.com 

Publication date: 6/6/2018

'It's like a licence to print money' — Citrus industry urges Government to help preserve China trade

The citrus industry has called on the Federal Government to not "trip up" their trade with China, as Australian orange and mandarin growers enjoy the best prices in years.
Citrus Australia chief executive Nathan Hancock said the industry was experiencing boom times, with growers getting twice to three times as much for their fruit as they were five years ago.

The citrus harvest started in early May and this season demand is expected to outstrip supply, largely due to increasing exports to China.

China accounted for almost a quarter of the total 273,000 tonnes of citrus fruit exported last year.

"In 2013 we were close to zero export tonnes to China … In 2017, we exceeded 70,000 tonnes to China," Mr Hancock said.

But Mr Hancock was concerned about the fragility of the current world order, and Australia's relationship with our most lucrative trading partner.

"I'm not the only one in industry who is nervous about that," Mr Hancock said.

"We can't do anything much about those political machinations except to say to our government we don't want them tripping things up."

Mr Hancock said the industry's peak body, Citrus Australia, along with growers and packers had put "a lot of work" into supplying China's needs.

'It's like a licence to print money'
The on-farm protocols the Chinese government demanded, primarily to prevent pests and diseases, had been difficult to enact but the hard work has paid off.

Of the 25,000 hectares of citrus trees planted across the growing regions of Queensland, the Northern Territory, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, 9,200 hectares have been registered for export to China.

Second generation fruit grower John Hederics at Trentham, near Mildura, said one variety of pink-fleshed navel orange was particularly popular.

"It's like a licence to print money," he said.

The pink navel, which looks like any other orange from the outside, can fetch as much as $1,300 a tonne, Mr Hederics said.

"China's been a big change for us in the last four years with that market opening up and the demand for our fruit, they really love our fruit, especially the pink navels," he said.

"The Australian dollar has been good to us the last couple of years, it has really made a difference to the profitability of us growing citrus and exporting it."

Close view of a man's hands holding hald a pink navel orange, with a knife sliding into a section of fruit
PHOTO: Grower John Hederics says pink navels can fetch as much as $1,300 a tonne. (ABC News: Prue Adams)
Mr Hederics grows 130 hectares of citrus on his property adjacent to the Murray River, and he is clearing more land to expand the orchards to 350 hectares over the next three years; he wants to increase his production of seedless mandarins and pink-fleshed navels.

"It's a big investment," he said.

"You can't just plant a tree and harvest it next year — you've got to wait five to seven years to come into full production, so it's a real gamble guessing the varieties and what you should be doing."

Mr Hederics is one of the Mildura Fruit Company's (MFC) 130 contracted growers.

MFC is the country's biggest single supplier to the China market — accounting for about one third of the overall citrus trade.

MFC general manager Perry Hill said the Mildura-based packing plant first shipped fruit to China in 2011, after the export trade to the United States collapsed.

"Going back ten or more years ago, the biggest market for the premium grade fruit was the US," Mr Hill said.

"That diminished because of the likes of South Africa and Chile pushing a lot of fruit into that market, so all of a sudden we couldn't get the premium prices we were looking for, so we turned our mind elsewhere."

Source: http://www.abc.net.au

Author: Prue Adams

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

Produce in firing line as US sparks trade war

The EU, Canada and Mexico consider retaliatory measures in response to US tariffs on steel and aluminium imports
The US has announced the imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico, prompting fears of a protracted and damaging trade war.

Almost immediately after president Donald Trump’s announcement, the Mexican government issued a statement announcing that it would impose equivalent measures on various US imports including apples, table grapes and cranberries.

The measures would remain in effect until the US government eliminated the import tariffs, the Ministry for the Economy said.

The latest trade data available from ITC suggests that, of the three products, the US apple export trade would stand to lose the most from a Mexican tariff hike.

Mexico is by far the largest importer of US apples, with sales worth US$276.5m last year, compared with US$174.3m in Canada and US$97.4m in India.

Mark Powers, president of the Yakima, Washington-based Northwest Horticultural Council, said the move was expected to cause substantial damage to the industry.

Mexico is the third major market to impose tariffs on Washington apples as a result of US trade policy on steel and aluminium this year.

Last week, India announced plans to put a 30 per cent retaliatory tariff on US apples – on top of the 50 per cent tariff that they are already subjected to, while in China US fruit imports have faced a 15 per cent hike in tariffs since 2 April.

Sales of US fresh apples to Mexico may have declined slightly in recent years, but last year they were 21 per cent up on the previous campaign.

Meanwhile, fresh cranberry exporters in the US have seen the value of their business in Mexico increase considerably over the past few years, albeit from a low starting point. According to ITC, Mexican import sales rose by 30 per cent to just under US$1.27m between 2013 and 2017.

As for table grapes, the value of US sales to Mexico fell by 2 per cent to US$97.2m during 2013-2017, although ITC noted a 26 per cent increase in 2017 compared with the previous campaign.

WTO case opened

The EU, meanwhile, has confirmed it is opening a case at the World Trade Organisation in response to the new US duties, with EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström expected to announce retaliatory "proportionate" tariffs on US exports including cranberries "in accordance with WTO rules".

Federica Mogherini, the EU high representative on foreign policy, told journalists: "The European Union will today proceed with the WTO dispute settlement case adding those additional duties on a number of imports from the United States. The European Union measures will be reasonable, proportionate and in full compliance with WTO rules and obligations.”

The decision by the White House was dubbed “patently absurd” by the UK’s international trade secretary, Liam Fox, who suggested the UK would be prepared for “tit-for-tat” moves. “We absolutely do not rule out counter measures,” he asserted.

When the initial threat of tariffs was raised by the US back in March, the EU pledged to retaliate with tariffs on American imports such as orange juice, cranberries and bourbon.

“Logically, these unilateral measures on steel and aluminium will lead to multiple counter reactions around the world, and for sure they will be challenged within the WTO,” said Philippe Binard, general delegate of European fresh produce association Freshfel Europe.

“The EU has already published a list of potential retaliatory measures that will be effective from 18 June, including on orange juice, cranberry juice and sweet corn. Elsewhere in the world, retaliatory measures may include increased taxes on US fresh fruit and vegetables.”

The question, according to Binard, is whether or not the US will remove its measures on steel and aluminium in order to avoid triggering such a response.

Additional reporting by Mike Knowles and Maura Maxwell

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

Author: Tom Joyce

WA Avocado growers looking forward to developing market in Japan

A Western Australian avocado packer has welcomed new market access to Japan, saying it will be needed to help ensure growers get a good price for their produce into the future.

Last week, the Australian government reached a new protocol agreement for Hass avocados with Japan, and will be calling for applications for accreditation for growers in the coming weeks. Managing Director of Karri Country Produce, Jennie Franceschi, says at the current rate of industry expansion producers will need new markets like this to develop, with a major increase in volume forecast for coming years.

"It's a positive step as there are a lot of trees in the ground and production in Australia is going to be increasing significantly," she said. "So the figures I have been given by industry, there are 30 per cent of trees not producing and 20 per cent of trees that are producing, but not in full production. So that means half the trees in the ground are either not producing or under producing. I always think it's important to have many market distribution channels."

She praised the Australian Government for getting this access, saying the more supply channels available means more diversity and therefore more stability. Ms Franceschi adds that prices are "not exciting" for growers at the moment due to the amount of fruit on the market.

"The industry as a whole is under a bit of pressure at the moment," Ms Franceschi said. "We haven't seen these sort of returns in around five years. I think it's just getting people to eat them. There have been some very good sales, but it just hasn't encouraged more people to buy. So it's not really price, and I am not sure why people are not buying. There are good volumes around and very good quality. So, if you look at the current pricing in Australia, we will be very effective up there (in Japan)."

Initially the opportunity will only be available to fruit fly free areas, such as Western Australia, Riverland (South Australia) and Tasmania, and Ms Franceschi admits there may not be huge number of volumes at first, as growers get an understanding of the market.

"I don't think there will be huge quantities, but I will definitely be putting some fruit up there," she said. "Just to understand the lay of the land, as I think that's important to do that and learn. I have worked with the Japanese lately and I have found them to be honourable. They are hard, like you've got to go through a process, but they are very honourable. So I think it's very promising."

Among Australia's advantages is the proximity to Asia, meaning the fruit can get to market fairly quickly as well as Australia's clean and green image. This has put the produce high on the list for many Asian countries, according to Ms Franceschi, who conducted her own taste testing while recently in Malaysia.

"They had some fruit from other countries, as well as fruit from Australia - not Western Australian, but East Coast fruit," Ms Franceschi said. "We bought some from other countries, because we wanted to understand why our fruit was retailing for more, which was quite a premium over these other countries. I wanted to see if there was a legitimate reason for this. But when we cut the fruit there wasn't a very good seed in one, and the flavour wasn't the same. So everyone who tried it, all picked the Aussie avocado as being of a superior flavour and there was also more flesh."

The Hass season is underway in the east but the west is still a few months away. The last estimates put the Western Australian crop at a similar level as last season, but with winter to get through, those numbers are expected to firm up at a later date.

For more information:
Jennie Franceschi
Karri Country Produce
Phone: +61 8 9777 2246
Publication date: 5/31/2018
Author: Matthew Russell
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com