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Registrations open for the 2021 National Biosecurity Forum

The 2021 National Biosecurity Forum will be held virtually on Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 November 2021.

Australia continues to face increasing biosecurity challenges, such as growing trade volumes, increasingly complex supply chains and climate change and variability. These factors increase the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering the country.

Hear about new and innovative approaches to managing the biosecurity challenge.

The forum this year will focus on:

  • taking a future focus - a national biosecurity strategy
  • shared responsibility and partnerships
  • preparedness.

  • The 2021 Australian Biosecurity Award winners will also be announced as part of the forum.

Click here for more


USDA provides export forecasts for Chilean table grapes, pome fruit

The USDA has forecast Chilean table grape exports to rise significantly in the upcoming season, while apples are expected to remain flat and pears will likely see a decline.

Table grapes
In its Fresh Deciduous Fruit Annual report for Chile, the USDA said it expects table grape exports from the Latin American country to rise by 23 percent year-on-year to 645,000 metric tons (MT).

"This estimate assumes production will bounce back after the setback caused by the rainfall in January 2021," it said.

Chilean table grape exports decreased by 13 percent in volume last season to 525,419, while the value of exports dropped by 11 percent to $826 million.

Total table grape production is expected to increase by a similar level to exports to reach 805,000MT. The rebound in production is associated with increased production from new varieties planted in recent years and a return to more normalized climatic conditions.

The United States remains the main market for Chilean table grape exports accounting for 49 percent of Chilean table grape exports. In 2020-21, table grape exports to the United States totaled 254,811 MT an 8 percent decrease over 2019/20.

China is the second market for Chilean table grape exports, totaling 78,117 MT in 2020-21 a 30.1 percent decline over 2019-20. This decline is attributed to the quality of the fruit that was damaged by rainfall. Much of this product was not good enough to travel from Chile to a distant market like China and arrive with the required firmness and overall quality.

Pome fruit
Chilean apple exports are expected to reach 637000MT next year, nearly unchanged from the previous season.

The USDA says the forecast follows the current production trend closely. In 2020-21 (data until August), Chilean apple exports totaled 546,193 MT, a 3.7 percent decrease from 2019-20.

For 2021-22, it estimates apple planted area to remain flat at 32,300 hectares.

"Producers are renewing current apple orchards with new varieties, but planted area is not increasing significantly due to competition from other fruit crops that are more profitable," it said.

"Some of the new apple varieties in Chile are Brookfield Gala, Pink Lady, Rosy Glow, Ambrosia, Modi, and Buckeye."

Apple production in 2021-22 is expected to remain flat and total 1,090,000MT since planted area is projected to remain unchanged.

The USDA bases this projection considering the drought problems that Chile is facing in the apple production regions and assuming no unexpected meteorological events.

Pear exports are set to decrease by 7 percent to 112,000 due to the decrease in pear planted area and lower anticipated production volume.

"In 2020-21 (data until August) Chile increased exports by 6.8 percent, totaling 114,915 MT," it said. "This increase in exports was due to the increase in pear production and because Chile was able to position pears in foreign markets, despite the difficulties in commercialization that come from consumer preferences."

In 2020-21, planted area is projected to decrease to 6,700 ha, following the reduction trend observed since MY2017-18.

The USDA projects Chile’s 2021-22 fresh pear production to decrease by 6.9 percent and total 217,000 MT.

Source: https://www.freshfruitportal.com/


DAWE - Public consultation on the Exposure Draft Export Control Legislation Amendment Rules 2021

2021-60: Plant Export Operations – Public consultation on the Exposure Draft Export Control Legislation Amendment Rules 2021

This Industry Advice Notice (IAN) is to advise that the Exposure Draft Export Control (Plants and Plant Products) Rules 2021 has been released for public consultation until COB 30 November 2021.

The Exposure Draft Export Control Legislation Amendment Rules 2021 is now available on the department’s Have Your Say page. This page also includes a series of information sheets.

click here for details


Avocados dumped amid glut in domestic supply and imports from overseas

West Australian avocado growers are dumping fruit because it's not worth the cost of packing and sending it to market.

Avocado prices have plummeted to just $18 a tray on the back of a massive national crop and a record production year in WA, which has led to an oversupply of product.

Slow sales into Sydney and Melbourne – WA's key domestic markets – have added to downward price pressures after lockdowns shuttered the food service industry for months.

Grower Vic Grozotis says he's been forced to discard perfectly good lower-grade fruit in a pit on his farm at Manjimup, about 300 kilometres south of Perth.

He says the fruit, which has purely cosmetic defects, would have been sold to the food service industry in a normal production year.

"We've had to dig a hole to bury a lot of the avocados we can't sell," he said.

"To have to dump fruit which had a commercial return last year and has a zero return this year has a big impact on farmer's bottom line and some farmers are losing money this year.

"It's disappointing, the resources that go into producing avocados — it's quite high and it's expensive.

Imports continue amid domestic supply glut

This season, 8.2 million trays of avocados are expected to be picked in WA — a 233 per cent increase on last year's crop.

With so much fruit produced domestically, growers like Mr Grozotis are questioning why major retailers are still importing fruit from New Zealand.

Industry data shows that tens of thousands of trays of overseas fruit is being brought in to be sold on Australian supermarket shelves every week.

Twenty per cent of fruit that's being sold in Australia is imported, and that could be sourced from Western Australia," he said.

"Industry has told our supermarkets that there would be more than adequate production from Australian produce, but they seem to have ignored that.

"We need to get retailers on board will selling 100 per cent Australian fruit, particularly in Queensland. They are denying Australian consumers the option to purchase Australian fruit.

"You'd think you'd see our supermarkets giving a full commitment to Australian producers, particularly in these difficult times."

Hopes of import phase-out

Avocados Australia CEO John Tyas hoped major retailers would phase out the imports as the Australian crop reached a consistently self-sufficient production level.

"This year we clearly don't need to see any imported avocados as you can see by the prices," he said.

"We could easily supply all the avocados that are needed in Australia this year.

"But I guess New Zealand has been in Australia for a long time and they can't turn the tap off overnight."

Mr Tyas said the industry body wanted to see importation of fruit phased out as Australian production grows.

"I think ultimately that's what will need to happen over the next few years as we can meet demand week-in-week-out there will be less of a need for that product," he said.

Exports still challenging

While export markets will be key to balancing future domestic supply gluts, developing consistent trade ties with overseas markets will take time.

Many international markets are already importing fruit from lower-cost competitor countries such as Chile and Peru.

This season unprecedented freight and logistics challenges has made it even harder to access overseas markets.

"It's very difficult to get containers and air freight is very expensive so the export market at the moment is extremely difficult," Mr Grozotis said.

Adjusting to the new normal

At the national level, this year's harvest is tipped to reach 120,000 tonnes, up from around 39,600 tonnes in 2010.

Manager Alan Blight fears supply gluts will become the new normal, because only half of national avocado tree plantings are at maturity.

"Conditions were good for productivity this year but there are also an awful lot of trees that have been planted that weren't producing this year," he said.

"It's hard to see with all of the trees in the ground people making money into the future."

In the meantime, Mr Blight hoped consumers would take advantage of the cheap produce available.

"There has never been a better opportunity to get in and try avocados and start the habit today, become addicted," he said.


By Jessica Hayes and Lucinda Jose

Export Development Grants

Austrade’s Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) program helps Australian businesses grow their exports in international markets. These grants encourage small to medium enterprises (SME) to market and promote their goods and services globally by providing matched funding for eligible promotional activities. They also assist representative bodies promote their SME members exports to overseas markets and train their members to be export ready.

Further details available:


Latest IAN from DAWR - Plant Export Operations – PEMS updates

2021-54: Plant Export Operations – Plant Exports Management System updates

This Industry Advice Notice (IAN) is to notify stakeholders of updates to the Plant Exports Management System (PEMS).

Summary of changes and key points

  • PEMS will now automatically validate the ‘Accredited Farm Block Numbers’ and ‘Accredited Packhouse Numbers’ for cherry protocol markets.
  • Vapour heat treatment (VHT) supervision and sensor calibrations for mangoes can now be recorded in PEMS. This functionality replaces the two manual forms, Vapour heat treatment sensor calibration record and Vapour heat treatment record, adding transparency and accuracy to VHT treatments.
  • A video tutorial explaining how to complete the VHT supervision and sensor calibration record is available for Authorised Officers on LearnHub.
  • AOs will have one month to familiarise themselves with the VHT process in PEMS. From 18 November 2021, all VHT supervision and sensor calibrations must be recorded in PEMS unless an exception applies.
    The horticulture inspection record has also been updated to accommodate the vapour heat treatment process in PEMS, but these changes will only appear for the relevant RFPs.

Click here for further information:


Australian citrus gains greater access to US

 USDA expands authorised production areas to include Queensland, Western Australia, and New South Wales

The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is expanding the production areas in Australia authorised to export fresh citrus to the US.

Under current measures, only citrus grown in Riverina (NSW), the Riverland (SA), and Sunraysia (VIC) can be exported to the US.

The three additional regions APHIS will authorise include Queensland, Western Australia, and the shires of Bourke and Narromine within New South Wales.

APHIS is also revising the conditions under which citrus from Australia can be imported. APHIS scientists prepared a pest risk assessment (PRA) and a commodity import evaluation document (CIED). The CIED identified the phytosanitary measures that could be applied to ensure citrus fruit from new areas of Australia can be safely imported without increasing the risk of introducing pests.

As such, citrus from the expanded areas must either originate from an approved production area that is free of Queensland fruit fly, Mediterranean fruit fly, and/or Lesser Queensland fruit fly, or be treated with cold treatment or other approved treatment.

An operational work plan that details the requirements under which citrus will be safely imported must also be put in place.

Furthermore, all citrus must be washed, brushed, surface disinfected in accordance with treatment schedules listed in the PPQ Treatment Manual, treated with fungicide at labelled rates, and waxed at packhouses. Imported fruit will be subject to inspection at the port of entry into the US.

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/

Author: Chris Komorek

BICON updates

BICON houses the Australian Government's Biosecurity import conditions database for more than 20,000 plants, animals, minerals and biological products. It will help you to determine what import conditions exist and if an import permit is required. Please refer to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment Importing to Australia page for more information about BICON.

Note the following recent updates:


Project exploring new market developments with phytosanitary irradiation

IRRADIATION is increasingly becoming the go-to option for fresh produce exporters, according to the Victorian Government.

The state has talked up the benefits of the procedure which treats fruit and vegetables for rogue bugs and diseases prior to departure.

 It comes on the back of Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) recently announcing a new domestic food regulatory measure that permits the use of irradiation as a phytosanitary treatment for all fresh fruit and vegetables (Standard 1.5.3 - Irradiation of food).

Over the past five years, Australian domestic and export trade volumes using phytosanitary irradiation have tripled in volume.

A growing list of crops including table grapes, mangoes and cherries have all had export success using irradiation as a phytosanitary treatment.

Agriculture Victoria is leading a project in conjunction with Hort Innovation with new research intended to fill gaps in the knowledge regarding pest and disease mortality, impacts on product quality and shelf life, and barriers to market access.

The project, Building capacity in irradiation - pathways to export, will be delivered by an international research consortium led by Agriculture Victoria with support from Steritech, NSW Department of Primary Industries, SA Research and Development Institute, Aerial (France), NZ Plant and Food Research, and Radservices (NZ).

The project is designed to build industry and government capability, support strategic sharing of knowledge with international trading partners, and promote acceptance of phytosanitary irradiation by those same trading partners.

Horticulture Innovation's Anthony Baker said the project should benefit growers.

"This research will address common market access needs and opportunities for many Australian horticultural crops," Mr Baker said.

"Australia is well positioned to continue leading the world in the development and application of phytosanitary irradiation."

Australian horticultural has traditionally relied on phytosanitary treatments such as cold disinfestation, methyl bromide fumigation and vapor heat, to meet market access requirements for domestic and international trade.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) recently announced a new domestic food regulatory measure that permits the use of irradiation as a phytosanitary treatment for all fresh fruit and vegetables (Standard 1.5.3 - Irradiation of food).

According to a statement from Agriculture Victoria: "Irradiation as a phytosanitary treatment is fast, chemical free, cost-effective and potentially 100 per cent carbon neutral by using renewable energy sources however it is not recognised by many of Australia and New Zealand's trading partners."

"The pathway to international acceptance for phytosanitary irradiation requires that industry, government and our international trading partners acknowledge that irradiation as a phytosanitary measure is not only effective against key pests and diseases but poses no risk to human health."

"All this whilst retaining product quality and shelf life better than traditional measures are able."

Australia has been a leader in the development and application of phytosanitary irradiation for the past 15 years, establishing common food standards with New Zealand and negotiating trade protocols to eight different export markets, including the USA, Vietnam and Thailand.

Source: Good Fruit and Vegetables