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Australia to boost Vietnam trade ties through table grapes

Việt Nam is a potential market for Australian table grapes because of its growing middle class, rapid economic growth and the increasing purchasing power of Vietnamese consumers.

The statement was made by Yvonne Chan, Australian Deputy Consul-General and Senior Trade Commissioner to Việt Nam, at a seminar in Hà Nội on Thursday.

The event was organised to cement existing trade relations and build new partnerships among Australian table grape exporters and Vietnamese importers.

Table grapes are produced in all Australian states, with the majority grown in Victoria. Of the country’s roughly 1,000 table grape growers, most are small-scale, family owned businesses.

Australia plants an average volume of 170,000 tonnes of table grapes each year, 62 per cent of which is exported to 42 countries and territories, Chan said.

Việt Nam is the 7th largest importer of Australian table grapes with a 4 per cent share, following China (38 per cent), Indonesia (15 per cent), Japan (10 per cent), Hong Kong (7 per cent), the Philippines (5 per cent) and Thailand (5 per cent).

According to Dianne Phan, trade head of Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited, Việt Nam is a key export market for Australia, and the Australian table grape industry has worked hard to introduce Vietnamese consumers of Australian grapes.

“Over the past four years, Australian table grape exports have grown 73 per cent, demonstrating the increasing demand for our high quality and premium produce,” she said.

Australian Table Grapes Association CEO Jeff Scott said several new varieties were coming into production for export this year such as sweet nectar, sweet sapphire, pristine seedless, long crimson, cotton candy and melody seedless. However, thompson seedless and crimson seedless are still expected to be Australia’s main export varieties.

“Việt Nam is one of the best favourable markets for Australian table grapes, especially thanks to the easy delivery through air flights between the two countries,” Scott told Việt Nam News.

“I expect the exporting volume of Australian table grapes into Việt Nam will reach 7,000 tonnes this year, nearly five times higher than that in 2016,” Scott said.

Besides table grapes, Australia is exporting two other types of fruits into Việt Nam, including citrus and cherry fruits.

Negotiations are also ongoing to bring Australian stone fruits into the Vietnamese market.

“I look forward to the trade ties between Australia and Việt Nam being closer and more and more Australian products being presented in Việt Nam, especially after Việt Nam officially became a member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP),” Chan told Việt Nam News. — VNS


Source: https://vietnamnews.vn

 

 

Heightened security measures to reduce the risk of aviation terror acts to impact all Australian exporters

Could a humble packing shed in rural Australia be the chink in the armour for terrorists wanting to blow up a plane?


While it has not happened before, that is the scenario that changes to air freight security, rolling out today, are designed to stop.
The Department of Home Affairs has heightened the security screening requirements for all export air cargo, including food products like rock lobster and stone fruit, to ensure no potentially dangerous items make their way into flights leaving Australia.
From today all air freight will need to be screened piece by piece unless the sender is registered as a 'known consignor'.
In a letter to exporters, the department said the changes could cause delays and increase costs.


The vast majority of air freight will be scanned at a piece-level at either Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne or Perth airports.
Director of the Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA), Paul Zalai, said he expected bottlenecks at the four airports.


"I hope that I am wrong, but my gut feeling is that the implementation will be a mess and will take several months for everything to shake down," Mr Zalai said.

"It will take a while for industry to be able to make informed decisions on confirmed service levels and price."


Airfreight was generally used for higher value, time sensitive products.


According to the Department of Infrastructure the volume of international trade sent by air represents less than 0.1 per cent but accounts for more than 21 per cent of the dollar value at nearly $60 billion.

Seafood exporters invest to avoid a damaging backlog

Australia's lucrative live seafood exports were particularly vulnerable to delays.

"It's alive so it needs to be treated with the utmost care and speed is the biggest issue," said Michael Blake, managing director of the Australian Southern Rock Lobster Exporters Association. "That's why we are more vulnerable than other industries."

Exporters have been told to allow an extra four to six hours at Melbourne airport for their cargo to be screened.
Mr Blake said his product could not handle that additional time in transit.


Security checks on staff

To make sure his rock lobsters did not wait on the tarmac Mr Blake spent time and money to register as a known consignor.

That process differed depending on the business but essentially required that the supply chain was immune to product tampering and that any issues could be quickly detected.

"It's a real upgrade of security for our facility, that's for sure," Mr Blake said.

Every person working in his packing shed now had high-level security checks.

"It hasn't been overly difficult but it does take a fair bit of time to get everyone in your facility vetted and security checked and put in new procedures," Mr Blake said.

"Some people I know have put in surveillance cameras and swipe cards."

It costs about $400 per staff member to get security checks.

X-ray machine boom

There has been a flurry of sales for x-ray machines as logistics companies position themselves to cater for the heightened security requirements.

One company, Smiths Detection, had installed x-ray equipment at more than 50 sites across the country because of the regulatory changes.

Freight forwarding company Link Logistics International spent $100,000 on a new x-ray machine and explosives residue test to use for its Tasmanian customers.

"If I hadn't installed the equipment our cargo would need to go to Melbourne around six hours earlier to be put through the screening process," director Chris Fox said.

"Because we handle a lot of live seafood, lobsters and abalone, to add another six hours to that journey is just not a practical solution for the exporter."

While the x-ray machines and security measures would save on time, someone had to foot the bill.

For the rock lobster sector, logistics companies and processors said any additional costs would come off the beach price paid to fishermen.

The Department of Home Affairs declined to comment on whether domestic air cargo would soon face the same increased security measures as international freight.

Mr Blake said despite the spectre of delays and costs, the industry was broadly supportive of the measures. "We've all jumped on board now and we really are supportive of it to be honest because it's quite scary to think what could happen on a plane with freight," Mr Blake said. "We just need to do it in a way that doesn't compromise our product."

Source: www.abc.net.au/news/rural

ABC Rural

 

Halos™ seedless easy peel mandarins available in Australia

Halos™ Mandarins are grown in sunny California by Wonderful® Citrus and available in Australia for a limited time thanks to Turners International Marketing Ltd who manages the programme for the Australia and New Zealand markets.

Mano A. Babiolakis from Turners International Marketing Ltd is excited to launch Halos™ Mandarins a well recognised brand here in Australia. Halos™ Mandarins is one of the leading citrus brands in the USA and for a limited time only will be available here in Australia through specialist greengrocers in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney including Harris Farms, Drakes Supermarkets QLD and Market Place Fresh Melbourne.

We are pleased to be working with Nutrano Produce Group on the distribution of Halos™ Mandarins through their wholesale stands at the produce markets in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne with demonstrations taking place during key trading period.

Nutrano Produce Group CEO, George Haggar comments “The launch of Halos™ Mandarins at the Nutrano Produce Group stand in the Sydney market this week went well and we are looking forward to launching at our Nutrano Produce Group stands in Brisbane and Melbourne markets next week.”

Halos™ Mandarins are grown in sunny California and are a perfect health snack, loved by both kids and grown-ups alike. Halos™ Mandarins are SWEET – sweetened by Mother Nature on the branch making them a great alternative to lollies and soft drinks. They are also SEEDLESS and have a soft thin skin which makes them EASY PEEL for kids and easy for everyone to enjoy.

Halos™ Mandarins are available in 750g prepacks or 9kg loose carton in specialist greengrocers. Look out for the special Halos™ fruit stickers.

For more information:
Mano Babiolakis
Turners International Marketing
Email: mano@globalproduce.com.au
Mobile: +61413 482 158


Publication date : 2/28/2019

Source: www.freshplaza.com 

Australia and Vietnam strengthen trade ties through table grapes

As the Australian table grape export season commences, Australian growers head to Vietnam to boost trade relations.

Three key growers from the Sunraysia region, which is responsible for around 99 per cent of table grape exports, representation from the Australian Table Grapes Association and a delegation from Austrade, will be on the ground in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City from February 28 to March 1 to promote the premium product.

Hosted under the Hort Innovation Taste Australia banner, the upcoming trade marketing activity aims to cement existing trade relations and develop new and exciting partnerships.

Hort Innovation acting trade lead Dianne Phan said Vietnam was currently the 7th largest importer of Australian table grapes.

“Vietnam is a key exporting country for Australia, and the Australian table grape industry has worked hard to educate and promote Australian grapes to Vietnamese consumers,” she said.

“Over the past four years, Australian table grape exports have grown 73 per cent, demonstrating the increasing demand for our high quality and premium produce.

“Moving forward, we expect that we will be able to produce more of the grapes that Vietnamese consumers love.”

Australian Table Grapes Association CEO Jeff Scott said several new varieties were coming into production for export this year such as; Sweet Nectar, Sweet Sapphire, Pristine Seedless, Long Crimson, Cotton Candy and Melody Seedless to name a few.

“Many growers have planted new varieties in large numbers under commercial licences and have commenced exporting,” he said.

“If any variety proves successful or demand is high from importing countries, additional plantings will take place to satisfy demand.”

Mr Scott said Thompson Seedless and Crimson Seedless were still expected to be Australia's main export varieties.

“As an industry, we are seeing year on year growth in table grape exports and this is a very pleasing outcome for growers.”

Mr Scott will present an industry update during the trade activities in Vietnam providing key partners with a seasonal overview of the 2019 crop forecast and the 5 to 10-year crop yield predictions.

He will also provide more information about the systems Australian industry have in place to continually maintain Australia’s clean, green and safe reputation.

For more information:
Farah Abdurahman
Tel: +61 447 304 255
Email: Farah.Abdurahman@horticulture.com.au


Publication date : 2/27/2019

Source: www.freshplaza.com  

 

Australian N & A brings Swing apple on board

Australian company N & A is owned by the Cathels family. Rob showed up at recent Fruit Logistica trade fair in Berlin for the official signing of the Swing® license and for the yearly Swing® global meeting.

Rob explains: “The N & A Group is a third generation family owned business which is based in Sydney. Our distribution centre is located in Orchard Hills in Western Sydney, supplying the major supermarkets and fresh fruit wholesale markets across Australia."

"Our Exports are predominately to the Asian and Middle Eastern markets, with future plans of expansion to the European Markets. Our farming land in Batlow, in the Snowy Mountains region of New South Wales consists of approximately 100 hectares growing of Apples, conventional and organic production, as well as organic berry production with a further 900ha available for planting."


N & A played an instrumental role in the successful introduction of Kanzi® to the Australian market, and are now the biggest grower of Kanzi® in Australia amongst the partners in the Kanzi Marketing Group.

The success with Kanzi® shows the value of branding, and the support of a global group of partners are vital elements to ensure the success of a new apple in the unique Australian retail market.

The Cathels family decided to join the RedMoon® company for Swing® after several years of discussions and research into this product. We found that the RedMoon® company had and has a clear vision of the direction they were heading to create and maintain sustainable brands and relationships. As a family owned company we were very impressed with the professionalism, values, culture and passion that stood behind the brand which gave us full confidence in building a long term relationship.

In a perpetually competitive market, Swing® is a clear stand out amongst the rest. We have never seen a more convincing apple because of a full range of advantages: attractive rustic fruit, resistance to scab and very tolerant to other diseases like fireblight and powdery mildew – this allows growers to implement very sustainable and responsible farming.

The cultivar “Xeleven” stores well, giving super long shelf life – which is perfect for the Australian consumer. And, with its super texture, customers globally get a chance to taste and experience a whole new super fruit. With customers now choosing to make health conscious purchases, we believe Swing® will move to the top of the consumer’s shopping list with all the health benefits it has to offer. It is simply a great all round apple! Our intention is planting up to 100 hectares of Swing® in Australia, both at our orchards in Batlow, NSW and throughout our group of committed supply partner’s orchards in the best growing regions across the country. Because of its robust genetics, this apple ticks all the boxes for responsible farming.“

Braun Jürgen, CEO of RedMoon® Company: "Indeed responsible farming is essential for us. We want all our partners around the world, for all our brands and varieties, to reduce the human impact on nature and produce as sustainable as possible. With Cathels we have the next family run business joining and we love short decision ways, open minds, like-minded people with a large horizon. On the other side Swing® speaks for itself: Consumers are struck by the rustic look which reminds them “old varieties”, they like the taste and the color, now a lot about healthy ingredients, in short the consumer out there wants to eat healthy, nature-oriented and sustainable apples.

The interest throughout the world is amazing: all Swing®s of this season are already sold. The production in France and Italy is placed in many countries in Europe, Middle and Far East, our customers and retailers love the outstanding apple. That’s the reason why we feel comfortable to increase hectares and partner with the whole world. Lots of Partners from other brands like Kiku® and Isaaq® have already expressed their interest, as it fits perfectly into their schemes for responsible farming as well. At Fruit Attraction 2019 in Madrid we will rock again with good news.”

For more information:
Red Moon Ltd
Email: info@redmoon-apple.com

Source: www.freshplaza.com 

Image: Kanzi apple - APAL


Publication date : 2/27/2019

Costa announces half-yearly results

Firm reports lower profit number than expected but remains on target for medium to long term growth

Following reports of lower than expected sales ahead of Christmas, Costa Group has announced detail of its performance in the six months to 30 December 2018.

Costa CEO, Harry Debney said the results were anticipated to be considerably lower because of the muted trading performance during December.

“The six-month financial period to December has delivered a lower profit number than expected. There were several contributing factors to this, some of which had been accounted for including bringing African Blue on to our balance sheet as a result of majority ownership, additional preharvest farming cost investment through our increased international footprint and an ‘off’ citrus season in terms of the biennial nature of the crop,” said Debney.

The company said it remains on track to meet medium to long term profit growth objectives, which incorporate its five core product categories as well as international development.

Revenue decreased in the produce segment by 4.3 per cent compared with the six months prior, and total transacted sales were at A$615.7m compared with A$620.3m in the first half of 2018.

Citrus

The biennial nature of citrus is said to have caused the 4.3 per cent dip in revenue for Costa’s produce department. Lower quality toward the tail end of the season was also to blame.

“Exports for the 2018 calendar season comprised 73 per cent of packed volume, with Japan being the largest market taking 40 per cent of total exports, followed by the US, New Zealand and China,” said Debney. “Exposure to the Korean market is expected to increase in 2019 as tariffs are further reduced under the Australia – Korea Free Trade Agreement.”

Avocados

Costa’s avocados also journeyed to Asia this year for the first season. The company said 60,000 trays of exports were initiated to markets in South East Asia, including Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

Domestic crop was mainly sourced from northern New South Wales, with some residual volume coming from Queensland. Central Queensland’s overlap with the end of Western Australia’s season resulted in a supply glut that lowered prices.

Berries

Strong production volumes for blueberries were also apparent at Costa’s Corindi farm in New South Wales but were offset by lower volumes from Queensland.

A new Arana premium variety attracted a 23 per cent premium on 200g packs at retail level and a double-digit premium at wholesale.

The company said raspberry contribution was disappointing.

Internationally, earnings from Costa’s Morocco, China and Americas-based operations are weighted to the first half of 2018, the company said.

Pre-harvest investment in Morocco and China through July-December decreased earnings which occur during the harvest period in the first half of the year.

“There has been a good early start to the blueberry harvest at the main Manlai farm with positive market reception reflected in premium pricing received for our large ‘jumbo’ berries,” said Debney.

The company said Driscoll’s US-based royalties produced continued revenue growth.

Tomato

Tomatoes also experienced an undesirable result with an excellent production of snacking varieties being met by weaker retail performance, resulting in more sales across the wholesale channel lowering price realisation. Truss production and pricing was also lower.

Costa will be showcasing a new truss variety in 2019 called Endeavour, which it said features enhanced yield, shelf life and disease resistance.

Mushroom

Mushrooms bucked the fluctuation trend and met financial targets for the period.

The recent higher cost of straw is expected to manifest over 2019 as Costa replenishes inventory stock. A new compost facility is also expected to have a positive impact and will operate from the fourth quarter of 2019.

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

Author: Camellia Aebischer

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

Delay concerns over piece-level inspection

Produce industry concerned about wait times when security screening is implemented in Australia for all exports
Fresh produce will undergo compulsory security screening via x-ray or metal detector from 1 March if it arrives at airports without prior security clearance.

In the short term, scheduling is a concern for the industry whose perishable air cargo could suffer from time delays. It’s not just fruit and vegetables that will need to meet the requirement, but all Australian exported air cargo regardless of article or destination.

Growers and traders can choose to either register as a ‘Known Consignor’, meaning they must meet certain security protocols to bypass airport screening at the take-off point or have goods screened by a Registered Air Cargo Agent (RACA).

However, both Dominic Jenkin, CEO of the Australian Horticulture Exporters’ and Importers’ Association (AHEIA) and a representative from a global airline told Fruitnet that around two weeks out from the implementation date there are only a handful of RACAs on the list.

The aforementioned airline representative said the 1 March implementation date will be interesting to watch as it falls on a Friday which is a typical peak period for the week.

“The most concerning impact in the short run is excessive wait times at the terminal operators, leading to shipments missing their planned flights as the shipments which are not from RACA or known consignors will [need to] be pre-screened,” he said.

“Our terminal operator has published an additional 3 hours in lodge-in times but a lot of us are anticipating a longer lead time would be required.”

Jenkin predicted a 24-hour delay at terminals, while Australian aircraft service group, Menzies Aviation cite an additional six-hour allowance for the new screening process.

 

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

Author: Camellia Aebischer

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: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit Author: Camellia Aebischer

Many of Australia's flowers are imported, but that may be about to change

Australia has been importing fresh-cut flowers for 45 years, but those working in the industry say there is little regulation, no country of origin labelling laws and an ever-present biosecurity risk.


About $67 million worth of flowers land on our shores every year from places as far away as Ecuador, Kenya and Singapore.

Imports kicked up a notch about 10 to 15 years ago and that saw some Australian growers leave the industry, while others learnt to adapt.

Now more change is afoot, as the Government steps up its biosecurity measures on cut flower and foliage imports.

It could be the leg-up local growers have been waiting for.

Last year, the Federal Government announced an increase to biosecurity measures after a 2017 review found less than half of imported flowers complied with environmental safeguards.
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources said cut flowers now need to be fumigated in their country of origin before they are sent here, or undergo an alternative pest control system approved by a National Plant Protection Organisation.

That extra safeguard, in addition to existing biosecurity measures when flowers arrive here, mean costs are heading higher for importers. It is also impacting the shelf life of flowers, which already take about a week to arrive on the florist floor in Australia after being cut off the plant in a country like Colombia.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is now assessing the impact of the changes on the sector.

The importers

Flowers are a family game. Harry Papadopoulos has been in the wholesale flower business for more than 30 years. His sons are now working alongside him. About 70 per cent of the flowers Harry's Wholesale Nursery sells to retailers are imported.

"What we import are only the flowers that our clients demand and that aren't available here, locally or interstate in Australia," said Mr Papadopoulos.

"The guys who do the big events need the flowers and we can't grow enough here."

Good climatic conditions mean roses from South America and Kenya are highly sought after by florists because they have a big flower size, long stems and a good shelf life.

Harry's son Steven said while Australian flowers were good quality, they just could not compete with roses from Ecuador and Colombia.

"Our main line is South American roses and their variety range is almost endless and the quality is very high. They produce all year round. So you can get the same exact flower every day of the year."

He said the biosecurity changes were unnecessary.

"We've been doing the right procedure for years. Let's say you do bring something in and there might be a bug that they're not happy with, it gets fumigated, the bug dies and you move on.

"It's been working so well for Australia so far in the flower industry as far as I know. I don't know why they're doing this really strict change."

Lower labour costs mean imported roses are cheaper to produce in their country of origin, but add freight and quarantine costs to the equation and consumers here will often end up paying more for them than locally grown roses.

In Western Australia, native flowers like Geraldton wax are being grown to export around the world.

West Australian native flower, Geraldton wax.

Craig Musson's company is one of the biggest importers and exporters of cut flowers in Australia. In addition to operations in Perth and Sydney, his company WAFEX has permanent offices in Ecuador, Kenya and the USA.

Mr Musson said the increased biosecurity regulations were already having an impact.

"We are scrambling as an industry. We support what quarantine is trying to achieve but we are seeking better consultation."

Mr Musson said shipments were now taking up to two days to clear.

"It's no different to fruit and vegetables. We want product all year round now. So we need roses all the way through winter when local production is down. We need lots of red roses at Valentine's Day and we need lots of chrysanthemums at Mother's Day."

The growers

Second generation rose grower Matthew Scarfone joined his dad in running Sunsethills Roses about three years ago. They sell a mix of their own flowers, as well as imported roses. But that has not always been the case.

Matthew Scarfone said his family business is now focusing on growing their own roses. "No-one really wanted local roses a few years ago, so we got out of it and went nearly 100 per cent imported," he explained.

It was a big change for their operations at Horsley Park, less than an hour's drive west of Sydney's CBD.

"Our whole farm was roses, the whole thing, and we couldn't sell them. Not for a profitable margin anyway. So we didn't grow them for about five years. We went to bits and pieces, seasonal stuff like stock and dahlias."

Mr Scarfone said the biosecurity changes meant imported flowers were now being fumigated twice, and in some cases three times, before they he could sell them.

"It's damaging the product. They're worried about all the insects and that. So now they're fumigating over there, which they never used to do," he said.

"Before, sometimes, you could get [roses] through without any fumigation at all. Those would last. You could get two weeks out of them. Now, you would struggle to get a week."

The family business is now focusing again on growing their own roses.

"Everyone wants the blown-open sort of look and you can't get that with the imported flowers. So we went and put not the whole farm, but we've done a section and that went well. Now we'll do more as the seasons go."

Joe Nati produces fragrant, fresh-cut blooms in north-west Sydney with his two brothers in their family business Nati Roses.

"A lot of our roses are the old-fashioned roses," he said.

Mr Nati said in the early years the quality of imported roses was not that great, but as they improved they were prized by many florists.

"Things have changed in the last 10 to 15 years with the introduction of a lot of roses being grown in Kenya in particular, as well as Ecuador," he explained.

"They are grown very well, so we're up against a quality product. It's getting to be that they are getting more expensive."

Mr Nati said he hoped the rising cost of imported roses would be good news for his business, but he — along with other local growers — also want a country of origin labelling system brought in.

"There are no labelling laws. Unless you're in the industry it would be hard to tell. We advertise our flowers as fresh local roses.

"Customers know what they're getting and they know they what they're buying on a Saturday has more than likely being picked on Friday so it's likely to last."

The department said it was not currently considering country of origin labelling for imported cut flowers and foliage.

The florists
Bernard Pollack was born into floristry and now runs the 50-year-old family business in Sydney with his sister.

Bernard Pollack said coexistence was necessary. He said local and imported flowers were better at different times of the year, depending on the season.

He said the industry would not survive if they did not co-exist.

"If we just relied on the local ones it wouldn't be enough. We wouldn't be able to satisfy the needs of our customers," he explained.

"If they stopped imports, lots of florists would close down, customers wouldn't be able to get what they want and people would lose their jobs. People would lose their houses over it. There would be grave ramifications."

Perth-based florist Matthew Landers echoed the need for both local and imported flowers to meet customer demand.

"The power of social media has not only changed the mentality of the florist but most definitely the consumer," he said.

"Clients are saying, 'I want this flower' and we look at it and go, 'Oh yeah peonies, they're only in season in Australia from November to December'. But we can import them for four months of the year from April to July from Holland."

The flower industry has to let the Government know what they think of the changes before the department releases its final report.

Source: ABC News. Author: Rachel Pupazzoni

How Northern Territory mangoes went from luxury item to household staple

It's the taste of summer: juice dripping down your chin and a tropical aroma overwhelming your senses.

Many of us just can't get enough of Australian mangoes.

This season, 10 million trays were packed from the tropics of northern Australia and sent to markets in southern Australia or exported overseas.

Not long ago, the same fruit was considered a luxury.

So how have mango growers turned their product into a summer essential?

The avocado effect
In recent years, the mango industry has achieved success similar to avocado growers, who managed to change consumer opinions of the fruit from a luxury to a household staple.

Seventy-six per cent of the population now buy mangoes, compared to 66 per cent in 2014, according to data from the Australian Mango Industry Association (AMIA).

The Northern Territory is now not only the largest grower of mangoes in the country, but also a consumer favourite.

AMIA CEO Robert Gray said over time, Australians had changed how and when they used the popular fruit.

"We know that simply slicing, dicing and demolishing the delicious king of fruits is still one of the most popular ways that consumers are enjoying their mangoes," he said.

"We have seen a shift in the way people are using their mangoes, whether that be in a salad, thrown on the barbeque, in a smoothie or used in a dessert."

Mr Gray said the industry had learnt from avocado growers, and now had a strong focus on quality and reliability.

"Avocados are one fruit that have increased consumption by creating multiple uses and occasions," he said.

"We believe that the same can be said for mango consumption."

Martina Matzner manages one of the biggest mango farms in the Northern Territory, Calypso Mango in Darwin.

She said targeted production would help spread out mango sales during the short selling period.

"You target the areas that aren't buying mangoes yet," she said.

"That would obviously help the industry to increase demand for potential overproduction in a short period of time because it's such a seasonal thing."

Ms Matzner said growing mango varieties that extend the harvesting period would also boost already-booming sales.

"At the moment, it's still only a three to six-month season and if we can succeed with different varieties to extend it, automatically [mangoes] will become more of a staple diet," she said.

According to industry body statistics, the number of households purchasing 11 or more mangoes per season has jumped 11 per cent since 2013, which, combined with rising prices, has led to a 71 per-cent increase in retail value.

There are now 800 growers nation-wide, producing about $191 million dollars worth of fruit every year.

Domestic exports to Sydney and Melbourne dominate the market, but the next hurdle for the industry is to secure more international markets in Asia, Europe and most importantly, the United States, which accounts for approximately 30 per cent of all mango imports.

If growers succeed, the AMIA forecasts the industry will be worth almost $280 million by June 2022.

Avoiding a repeat of the strawberry crisis
At the Darwin farm, new technology has been brought in to ensure high quality and transparency throughout the growing process.

Packing may look rudimentary, but recent contamination scares and an ongoing consumer demand for traceability have seen the farm implement a system to track every piece of fruit from its tree all the way to point of sale.

The result is a powerhouse of data collection.

Every mango has a barcode which can be traced to identify who packed it and its condition when it was packed.

Another barcode on each box details which field the fruit came from, the time of day it was picked, and which employee did the picking.

Barcodes on fruit and packing boxes store data that meets a demand for traceability and helps with yield predictions. 

"With the click of a button, you hold [the tracking machine] against the fruit and then it tells you what the dry matter is, it maps the GPS and then I can see it on the map," Ms Matzner said.

"It overlays a farm map right to the row, right to the particular tree."

The data collection also takes the guesswork out of estimating the yield and packing requirements.

"All the technology we now involve is to try to get precise yield predictions," Ms Matzner said.

"You look at the map and you can actually target the areas you're picking, taking the risk out of picking immature fruit.

"Once you know your yield predictions, if you know it early enough, you know how many staff you need, you know when you're going to harvest what, you know how many trucks you need, you know how many cardboard boxes you need."

A challenging harvest in the hot and wet
Another substantial challenge of getting the desirable fruit to market is a time-consuming harvest.

Mango season in the Northern Territory is traditionally during the infamously brutal build-up, the period between the dry season and monsoon, when humidity lurks around 90 per cent and dark clouds linger but rarely deliver rain.

In the dry season, usually June and July, cooler temperatures allow the mango tree to flower, which then produces fruit.

Farmers then have to wait, hoping all their fruit flowers at roughly the same time and in large numbers.

The biggest obstacle, however, is getting the fruit off the trees.

Harvesting is a monumental job, with 90 tonnes of fruit picked every day.

The fruit only lasts a few weeks, so it must be packed and transported almost 4,000 kilometres to market before the quality starts to degrade.

Ms Matzner said an organised system and hard work from 130 backpackers made the laborious process run more smoothly.

"We have people from all over the world that have travelled halfway around the world to come and be part of a mango harvest," she said.

"The opportunities up here are endless. If you want to do something and you believe in it, this is the place to come.

"Farming is technology, farming is exciting."

Souce: Landline By Kristy O'Brien and Anna Levy

Australian mangoes promoted in Korea

1,200 guests enjoyed a taste of Australian summer at an Australia Day-eve event held in Seoul

Fresh Australian mangoes supplied by Australian mango supplier Manbulloo were front and centre at a celebration on 25 January at the Grand Hyatt in Seoul, hosted by the Australian Embassy.

The event was given the theme ‘Australia Day Open’ and combined iconic Australian foods with a live screening of the Australian Open semi-final tennis match.

The My Mango newsletter reported that mangoes were showcased at a dessert buffet table featuring mini pavlova’s, mango pudding, mango smoothies and mango ice cream using 20 trays of fresh Manbulloo R2E2 fruit, delivered by Jinwon Trading.

Guests including government and business representatives, media and influencers attended the event which was a celebration of all things Australian.

Australia enjoys a 24 per cent import tariff when sending mangoes to Korea. This is around six percentage points less than many other countries who must comply with the standard 30 per cent applied to WTO members. Australia has been shipping mango to Korea since it gained an access protocol in 2010.

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit
Author: Camellia Aebischer

 

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bangdoll/