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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 

AHEIA announces 2018 Industry Forum

The AHEIA annual industry forum is a must attend event to find out the latest developments and opportunities direct from the people who represent our industry to our international trading partners.

When: Thursday,23 August 2018, 9.30am

Where: Holiday Inn, Melbourne Airport

RSVP by 17 August 2018 to admin@horticulturetrade.com.au or call 07 3379 4983

Price: AHEIA members free, non members $60 +gst



Forum Registration/Coffee



Morning session

  • Opening and introduction - AHEIA Chair - Joseph Saina

  • Michael Rogers, Trade, HIAL

  • Exports - David Ironside, A/g Assistant Secretary, Plant Export Operations, DoAWR

  • Imports - Douglas Kerruish or Bussakorn Mpelasoka, Assistant Secretary, Plant Import Operations, DoAWR

  • Anita Langford or Thomas Lees, Office of Transport Security

  • Travis Brooks-Garrett, Director, Freight and Trade Alliance






Afternoon session

  • Statistics Presentation - Wayne Prowse Principal & Senior Analyst, Fresh Intelligence Consulting

  • Ben Reilly - Steritech

  • Moderated Q & A

  • Opportunities in 2017/2018 and Close - AHEIA CEO, Dominic Jenkin




Cost $60+ gst for non-members, free for members

RSVP by 17 Aug - please respond as to whether you are attending the AGM and/or Forum 

Phone: (07) 3379 4983

Email: admin@horticulturetrade.com.au 


The AHEIA 2018 Industry forum is sponsored by Steritech

Australia launches 10-year berry export plan amid soaring growth

Australia’s Hort Innovation has launched the Berry Export Strategy 2028 for the strawberry, raspberry and blackberry industries following huge international growth over recent years.

The dedicated export plan to grow the three sectors’ global presence over the next decade was driven by significant grower input, the organization said.

Hort Innovation trade manager Jenny Van de Meeberg said the value and volume of raspberry and blackberry exports rose by 100 percent between 2016 and 2017.

Strawberry exports rose 30 percent in volume and 26 percent in value over the same period.

“Australian berry sectors are in a firm position at the moment,” she said.

“Production, adoption of protected substrate cropping, improved genetics and an expanding geographic footprint have all helped put Aussie berries on a positive trajectory.

“We are seeing a real transition point. Broad industry interest and a strong commercial appetite for export market development combined with the potential to capitalise on existing trade agreements and build new trade partnerships has created this perfect environment for growth.”

High-income countries in Europe, North America and northern Asia have been identified as having a palate for Australian-grown berries, with more than 4,244 metric tons (MT) of fresh berries exported in the last financial year alone.

The strategy identified the best short-term prospect markets for the Australian blackberry and raspberry industry as Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Canada.

The strongest short-term trade options identified for the strawberry sector were Thailand, Malaysia, New Zealand and Macau.

The strategy focuses heavily on growing the existing strawberry export market from 4 percent to at least 8 percent of national production by volume. For raspberries and blackberries, the sectors aim to achieve a 5 percent boost in exports assessed by volume across identified markets by 2021.

Tasmanian raspberry exporter Nic Hansen said: “The more options we have for export the better. Now we just have to get on with the job of ensuring industry has all the tools it needs, such as supporting data and relationship building opportunities, to thrive in new markets.”


Source: https://www.freshfruitportal.com

Airport check to add $19 million in costs to industry

AUSTRALIAN horticulture exporters are bracing for $19 million in additional costs when strict new security measures are rolled out across the nation’s airports next year.

In the wake of a foiled terrorist plot to blow up an aircraft in Sydney last year, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the security boost for all Australian airports.

It comes after the US introduced similar security procedures mid-last year. The new air cargo examination requirements will see every piece of airfreight either physically examined or screened by technology for explosives and drugs from March 1 next year.
Australia exports more than 87,000 tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables annually by aeroplane, making up about 15 per cent of all airfreighted goods.

Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association chief executive Dominic Jenkin has estimated the measure will cost about $0.22/kg, “representing an additional cost of more than $19 million a year”.
“And the true cost to the economy is likely to eclipse this amount,” Mr Jenkin said.

Vegetables made up a significant portion of Australian exports by plane in 2017-18, followed by melons, summer fruit, grapes and mangoes.

Mr Jenkin said the horticultural exporting industry was disappointed there was so little consultation about how the security measures would be applied to fresh produce. “We see the sector as a significant stakeholder in the air cargo community, also one with challenges — low margins, high volumes — the little things can make a big effect,” he said.

The AHEIA calculated it would cost the nation’s vegetable industry $4 million a year in screening fees.

An AusVeg spokesman said while the importance of a safe and secure supply chain was acknowledged, “it is crucial such measures do not compromise the viability and quality of vegetable exports”. 

Australian Mango Industry Association chief executive Robert Gray said aside from the US, Australia would be one of the few countries with such strict security measures in place for airfreight exports.

“We’re going to be encumbered by an added process our competitors won’t have to endure,” Mr Gray said.

AHEIA chairman and Brisbane exporter Joseph Saina said the issue for the horticulture industry was the low value of the goods.
“Vegetables will be the biggest losers,” Mr Saina said.

July 11, 2018

U.S. has launched “biggest trade war in economic history”, says China

The U.S. Government has followed through on its threat to implement tariffs on US$34 billion worth of Chinese goods, in a major escalation of a trade dispute that will likely hit consumers and companies in both countries.

The 25% duties, which went into effect at 12:01 am EST, prompted quick retaliation by Beijing, which said it immediately put its own similarly sized tariffs on U.S. goods, including fruits and vegetables.

China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement the U.S. “has violated World Trade Organization rules and launched the biggest trade war in economic history to date.”

It accused the U.S. of bullying and said the move would jeopardize global supply chains and hinder the pace of global economic recovery. It added this would trigger “global market turmoil and will affect more innocent multinational corporations, general enterprises and ordinary consumers.”

“The Chinese side promised not to fire the first shot, but in order to defend the core interests of the country and the interests of the people, we had to be forced to make the necessary counterattacks,” the ministry said.

“We will promptly inform the WTO about the situation and work with countries around the world to jointly safeguard free trade and the multilateral system. At the same time, we reiterate that we will unswervingly deepen reform, expand opening up (of markets), protect entrepreneurship, strengthen IP rights protection, and create a good business environment for Chinese companies in the world.”

The first wave of US$34 billion of tariffs is expected to be followed by a further US$16 billion, with both countries having threatened a total of US$50 billion worth of duties.

With no official talks scheduled between the two countries, and disagreements within the Trump administration about how best to proceed, a quick resolution seems increasingly unlikely, the New York Times reported.

“At the moment, I don’t see how this ends,” Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, told the publication.

“This is very much in the president’s hands because he’s got advisers that seem divided, some substantively, some tactically. I just don’t think we’ve had any clear signs of the resolution he wants.”

In terms of U.S. fruit exports, cherries, apples and citrus are likely to be the most affected. However, Produce Marketing Association vice president of global membership and engagement Richard Owen last month said he expected the Chinese market to more easily absorb the higher prices for cherries.

Source: www.freshfruitportal.com

Vietnam: Export fruit enters choosy markets

According to the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), after many years of negotiation, Vietnam has overcome technical barriers an is now able to enter choosy markets including Australia, the US, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.

By April 2018, Vietnam had exported over $1.3 billion worth of fruits, an increase of 30 percent year-on- year. In 2017, the export turnover from fruits was $3.5 billion, nearly twice as much as 2016 ($1.7 billion). The figure is expected to reach $4.3-4.5 billion this year.

Vietnam is able to meet strict requirements set by import countries on origin tracing. The efficiency of trade promotions, branding and the connection between farmers and exporters is also very good.

According to Hoang Trung, head of the Plant Protection Agency, it took Vietnam seven years to obtain the right for Vietnam’s rambutan to enter the New Zealand market. And only after 10 years of negotiations did the US open its market to Vietnam’s star apple.

Source: english.vietnamnet.vn

Publication date: 7/5/2018

Australian air cargo to be examined at piece level

The move will have costly implications on Australian fresh produce industries shipping by air

From 1 March 2019, the Australian government’s Office of Transport Security is cracking down on security by introducing piece-level examinations for all outbound international cargo shipments.

Currently, piece-level examinations are only standard for Australian cargo destined for the US, however, the requirement will soon be made for all outbound air shipments. That includes all fresh produce.

Dominic Jenkin, CEO of the Australian Horticultural Exporters and Importers Association (AHEIA), said the changes will significantly increase the cost of exporting fresh fruit and vegetables from Australia.

Each individual box of produce will need to be screened by a Regulated Air Cargo Agent, using technology like x-ray, or be physically inspected.

After screening and loading fees, The AHEIA estimates total added costs to the industry at A$0.22/kg (US$0.16) and expects low unit value items like melons and vegetables to suffer most.

Australia currently exports more than 87,000 tonnes of fresh produce annually by air, which accounts for 15 per cent of the country’s total fresh produce exports.

If this figure remains, the total cost increase for the industry predicted by the AHEIA sits at around A$19m (US$14m) annually.

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com

Author: Camellia Aebischer

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

Publication date: 7/2/2018


Source and image: www.freshplaza.com


Coalition beefs up biosecurity

Coalition announces the allocation of $137.8 million for further, new biosecurity investment over five years

The newly allocated amount and Budget measures total $313 million committed in 2018 by the Coalition Government over five years to strengthen Australia’s biosecurity capacity
Will support cutting edge biosecurity technologies, improve biosecurity data, analytics and intelligence.

The Coalition Government is beefing up Australia’s biosecurity system, through allocating $137.8 million to build a smarter and stronger biosecurity system to further protect Australia’s farm industries and environment.

“This investment is part of the Coalition’s comprehensive plan to keep Australia’s industries and environment safe from invading biosecurity threats,” Minister Littleproud said.

“A $25.2 million Biosecurity Innovation Program will invest in smart new technology, such as underwater sonar drones to check for pests on the underside of ships and x-ray guns to scan more passenger baggage more quickly at airports. Electronic sensors in sea containers will pick up intruding insects through sound and smell.

“A further $36.5 million will be allocated for a team of biosecurity analytics specialists to help tell us which passengers, countries and imports are likely to bring in pests and diseases. Our data and analytics will also tell us when pests are extending their range in other countries which could heighten our exposure to them.

“The Indigenous Biosecurity Rangers program will be made ongoing with $33.5 million over the next five years to employ 69 groups of Indigenous Rangers on our 10,000 km of northern Australian coastline. These rangers are a frontline defence for our farming and environment – keeping out invading pests and diseases. The amount includes training for an additional 13 Torres Strait Islander groups.

“The Rangers access remote areas to conduct animal disease samples, insect trapping and plant diseases monitoring and are now using drones to assist with plant surveillance work.

“We have set aside $35 million in contingency funding, ready to go if we do face an incursion we need to stamp out.

“Another $7.6 million over five years will establish and appoint an ongoing Environmental Biosecurity Protection Officer and staff within the Department of Agriculture. This Officer and his or her staff would prepare plans and invest in projects to keep out environmental threats including the Asian black spined toad, which is similar to the cane toad.

“Pests and diseases have an environmental impact. Myrtle Rust, which arrived in Australia in 2010, causes disease in bottle brush, tea tree and eucalyptus, threatening some of Australia’s iconic native flora.

“All this comes on top of the $145.9 million of new funding allocated to biosecurity investment over five years in the recent budget, which included $107.8 million for:
• Enhanced assurance and verification activities to enhance enforcement of our strict standards
• Monitoring pests and diseases overseas so we can reduce the risk of them getting to Australia
• More surveillance, monitoring and response around ports
• Keeping our vaccine bank ready for the risk of foot and mouth disease
• Funding the Australian Animal Health Laboratory and its vital testing for exotic pests and diseases.

“We also allocated $18.1 million for more boots on the ground at our international ports over five years, with around 35 extra officers inspecting passengers’ baggage and performing other tasks.

“I look forward to working with my state and territory counterparts to finalise a new Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity (IGAB) by late 2018.”

Fast facts
• The $313 million in total funding includes $283 million over the next five years, plus an additional one-off amount of $20 million in 2017-18 to support Tasmanian fruit growers impacted by the fruit fly outbreak.
• Total funding for biosecurity in 2018-19 will be $773.2 million – an increase of 28.1 per cent, or $169.8 million, since 2012-13.
• The Coalition had already allocated $145.9 million of the $313 million towards biosecurity in the recent budget.

Megan Dempsey
Media & Backbench
Office of the Hon. David Littleproud MP
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources
P 6277 7630 M: 0491 222 306 E: megan.dempsey@agriculture.gov.au

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.