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Early engagement core to market access in China

With market access negotiations underway for Australian mainland apples and strong progress made towards the launch of Pink Lady® in China, Apple and Pear Australia Limited (APAL) are doubling down on their efforts to forge relationships in the region.

“This is our third visit to mainland China in the last 12 months,” said Andrew Hooke, APAL Director Global Development, of the team’s November trip. “Market access is probably still some time away, but we are doing all that we can to accelerate this by articulating the benefits to China and generating excitement around our product.”

The most recent visit coincided with the China Fruit & Vegetable Fair where Australian fresh produce was appreciated by Chinese officials at the trade display hosted by Hort Innovation and Taste Australia.

During the visit, APAL also participated in the 2018 International Seminar on Inspection Technical Cooperation sponsored and hosted by China Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Association (CIQA).

“CIQA plays an important role in securing access for Australian mainland apples so it was quite an honour to have APAL’s own Head of Global Quality and Innovation, Andrew Mandemaker, invited to address the delegates,” explained Andrew. The prestigious event was attended Professor Guo Lisheng, Senior Advisor of CIQA; Mr Paul McNamara, Minister Counsellor from the Australian Embassy; and Mr Adam Balcerak Department of Agriculture.

In addition to informal discussions, APAL was also asked to present to the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China.

“We are building the business case for the size and sophistication of the Australian apple industry and its value to the Chinese consumer, every chance we get.”

“The quality of the existing commercial relationships between APAL and Chinese government officials and business partners, reinforces our commitment to an industry partnership, which will be a key driver for the Chinese government supporting market access,” said Andrew.

For more information:
Apple and Pear Australia Limited
Phone: +61 3 9329 3511
Fax: +61 3 9329 3522
Email: ea@apal.org.au
www.apal.org.au


Publication date : 1/9/2019

Source: www.freshplaza.com 

AU: Expanded labour options, but some new laws too

A lot has changed on the labour front since last harvest. Rob Hayes, Victorian State Manager of the National Harvest Labour Information Service (NHLIS) provides an update on changes to labour law, labour-hire licensing and visa flexibility and a word of advice to growers to take care they know and comply with newly-introduced laws.

The last few months have seen many changes to the way harvest labour can be sourced and paid. Most of this is good for growers with several programs expanded, new ones introduced and some red tape removed, however other changes will mean growers need to remain vigilant and make sure they comply with some newly introduced laws.


A brief summary of some of the changes either proposed or underway follows:

Horticulture Award changes are on the way
The lengthy process to review the conditions of the Horticulture Award is getting closer to completion, with draft determinations recently released by the Fair Work Commission. The main areas likely to impact horticulture producers are the inclusion of overtime provisions for casuals and introduction of a minimum two hour engagement for casual workers. At this stage it seems that piece rate workers will not be subject to overtime payments but this will not be clarified until the final determination is made and at this stage it is now known when the new award conditions will be enacted.


Labour hire licensing update
Labour hire licensing laws are in different stages of implementation in the three states that had indicated they were going to implement them. A brief summary for each state follows:

Changes to Seasonal Worker Program
The Seasonal Worker Program which allows workers from a number of Pacific Islands as well as PNG and Timor-Leste is growing rapidly and these workers now make up a large portion of some businesses seasonal labour (Figure 1), and indications are that over 8,000 visas were granted in 2017/18. The main reason for the popularity of this program is the high work ethic and the ability to get the same workers back year after year.

To make this program even more attractive for growers, the Commonwealth Government recently announced a number of changes.

Working Holidaymakers – major changes underway
Working Holiday Makers, or Backpackers, are critical to getting fruit and vegetables harvested in Australia and any reduction or increase in the number or these workers available or changes to the countries they come from can have major implications for growers.

 

READ THE FULL ARTICLE ON FRESH PLAZA

For more information:
Harvest Trail
Tel: +61 1800 062 332


Publication date : 1/9/2019

Japan and Australia to try out year-round fruit production

Project will take advantage of seasonal difference to grow high-end products for export
TOKYO -- Japan and Australia will start as early as April a joint project to harvest high-end fruit all year round, taking advantage of two countries' seasonal differences.

The two countries will contribute farmland, personnel and technology for the project, which is also aimed at encouraging businesses to participate in the unique farming structure.

The two governments mean to develop new markets for luxury produce, which will be targeted at wealthy consumers in China and Southeast Asia.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison agreed on a plan to proceed with building a cooperative structure at a summit in November 2018. The two leaders "recognized the potential for the two countries to boost agricultural exports into international markets through cooperation on bilateral counter-seasonal production," according to a joint statement released after the meeting.

The deal will enable Japanese farmers, who usually grow fruit in summer and fall, to also grow them in Australia when Japan is in winter, allowing them to harvest in all seasons. As the two countries have little time difference, farmers in one can monitor farms in the other in real time using video and provide instructions to staff on site.


The project will start in the northeastern Australian town of Ayr, where melons will be grown on a farm to be set up using land and greenhouses provided by the Australian side.

Japan will dispatch private-sector farmers from rural areas, including Fukuoka Prefecture, to the farm to provide necessary technological assistance and train local staff on farming the fruit.

The farmers will try Japanese farming techniques on an Australian melon variety and see if they can achieve the required quality and sugar content.

The project will seek to set up farms in other areas of the northeastern state of Queensland, where Ayr is located. They will also grow Japanese persimmons and strawberries.

By leading the project, the two countries aim to lay the groundwork for the year-round production scheme to encourage private-sector businesses to enter the unique farming scheme.

The first crop of fruit will be sent for quality inspections in Singapore and Thailand to see if they are viable for sale.

The two countries' interests could collide in rice, beef and dairy production, possibly spurring complaints from farmers on both sides. Therefore, they decided to cooperate in luxury fruit because there should be less overlap.

The cooperation could also attract new demand, including for the gift market. In 2017, Japan exported nearly 40,000 tons of fruit overseas, worth about 20 billion yen ($184 million). The total export volume and value have jumped 160% and 250%, respectively, over the past five years.

As the economies grow, high-income groups are increasing in China and ASEAN countries. With the luxury fruit market expanding, Ginza Sembikiya and other fruit distributors can expect more profit by selling luxury fruit year-round.

Japan and Australia are cooperating in more than luxury fruit. The two countries are jointly conducting a large shrimp farming project in the Northern Territory. In March 2017, Japan signed a memorandum with the government of Queensland to develop a new variety of soybeans starting in April 2018.

The northern part of the country is less populated and developed. The Australian government hopes Japan's technical cooperation will boost development in the area, which includes a third of the country's land.

 

Source: https://asia.nikkei.com

Author: SAKI HAYASHI

 

Tasmania declared fruit fly-free

Fruit growers in restricted mainland state zones will be able to again trade produce freely outside the zone
Following the discovery of Queensland fruit fly in northern mainland Tasmania in early 2018, regulation in control zones to stop the movement of fruit fly host produce has been lifted.

The lift was officially declared at 12:01am on 9 January after six months without a detection.

Local and domestic trade has reopened for the region around Devonport in Tasmania’s north allowing the normal movement of host produce to resume. However, it will take official recognition from international trading partners to resume treatment-free export.

Biosecurity Tasmania said in a release it was working closely with the Australian Government to finalise technical information for trading partners to reopen international markets.

Australia’s assistant minister for agriculture, Richard Colbeck told ABC News that some countries may send representatives to Tasmania to inspect before recognising the pest-free status and noted Indonesia would likely not be ready until February.

“Indonesia have indicated to us they recognise we are coming to the end of this period,” he said. “They've said that they have a window available for us at the end of January for us to present our data to them.”

Late last year a detection of fruit fly was made on Tasmania’s Furneaux group of islands off the island-state’s north coast. Due to this, control zones still remain on the islands until March pending no further detections, however, the islands are not significant commercial production areas.

Regular fruit fly monitoring protocols will now resume, including checks of traps across the trapping grid.

In late November the Australian government pledged A$16.9m in funding toward new technology to provide advanced warnings of fruit fly movements across the nation.

 

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com

Author: Camellia Aebischer

Making inroads with irradiation

Demand for irradiation services is increasing in Australia, as key export markets accept it as a phytosanitary treatment
Regarded as simple and highly reliable, irradiation treatment is opening doors for Australian exporters in Asia.

Within the past 18 months, both Vietnam and Thailand have recognised irradiation as an accepted phytosanitary treatment for selected Australian fruit lines.

The irradiation treatment process takes about 45 minutes to complete and is a continuous flow of palletised product on a conveyor. It is conducted within the confines of a chilled room, meaning the consignment can be loaded for export immediately after treatment without any disruption to the cool chain.

Once treated, the fruit is free to travel to its destination by whichever means desired. It means airfreight is now a viable option for Australian exporters targeting discerning consumers with a preference for the freshest possible fruit.

Australian cherry and table grape suppliers are already sending fruit to Vietnam under this method, with demand for irradiation services from these two sectors exceeding expectations, according to Ben Reilly of Steritech, an Australian company specialising in irradiation treatment from a facility in Brisbane.

“We expected demand to peak at the start and end of the grape season, but over 2017/18 the demand for airfreight treatments was season-long,” Reilly said. “Importers are excited to receive early shipments of the freshest grape variety being harvested. For cherries there really is no other viable option for airfreight.”

Australia and Thailand announced a new irradiation pathway for horticultural exports in September. Australian persimmons and Thai mangoes were the first products to be ticked off for approval under the irradiation plan.

Produced primarily in south-east Queensland, Australian persimmons have previously been exported to Thailand under cold treatment. It’s unlikely irradiated Australian persimmons will be shipped in significant volumes, however, the protocol is being viewed as a significant win as it sets a precedence for other products to follow.

Reilly can also see doors opening for irradiated Australian fruit in other markets across Asia and around the world.

“The treatment is highly reliable with fewer variables that can impact efficacy, which is increasingly important to regulators,” he said. “It’s a unique combination of commercial, technical and environmental benefits that are driving the growth.”

Such is the promise irradiation shows for Australian exporters, Steritech is developing a second facility in Melbourne, which is on track to be open for exports over the 2019/20 Australian summer. Melbourne is located closer to the country’s major cherry and grape production regions than Steritech’s Brisbane facility, which was initially built to handle Australia’s tropical crops.

“With the Melbourne facility, Australian grapes and cherries should be capable of arriving in markets like Vietnam and Thailand within 48 to 72 hours of being picked,” Reilly explained. “This would provide a tremendous advantage for Australian producers competing in a global market.”

Read more about market access gains being made by Australian exporters with irradiation in the December 2018/January 2019 edition of Asiafruit Magazine, out now.

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

Author: Matthew Jones

Australian dollar hits decade lows

Australia’s exporters of agricultural goods could be among the beneficiaries of a definite slump in the value of the Australian dollar. On Thursday, the AUD slipped to US67.49, the lowest value in over a decade, before recovering to US69.31 later in trade.

International investors, spooked by the poor end to the year on financial markets, have flocked to the safe haven investment of the US dollar, which has soared in the early part of 2019, spurred on by the US Federal Reserve hiking interest rates. The dollar did not fall by as much in comparison to other currencies such as the UK pound or the euro.

Much of the blame for the drop was apportioned to weaker economic data out of China, where the manufacturing sector contracted for the first time in over a year and a half. Analysts believe the US-China trade war is starting to impact the Asian giant.

According to queenslandcountrylife.com.au, Australia’s heavy reliance on China as a trade partner means bad financial news there has a big impact on domestic markets.


Publication date : 1/3/2019

Source: https://www.freshplaza.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: https://www.freshfruitportal.com 

Shipments of oranges and mandarins to China continue to climb, while US demand stabilises

Increasing demand from China has been the driving force behind growth in Australian citrus exports over the last decade. Shipments to all international markets have increased on average 8 per cent by volume per year over ten years to 265,000 tonnes (12 months to September 2018).

Based on preliminary results for 2018, exports may miss the 2017 record (volume) by around 3 per cent, however, it is still a very strong result compared to even a few years ago. According to peak industry body Citrus Australia, mandarin exports were lower due to the lighter crop in Queensland this year, as well as an earlier finish to the season.

China, including Hong Kong, accounted for around 44 per cent of Australian citrus exports in 2018 (data until September), followed by Japan with 15 per cent.

Comparatively, China, including mostly Hong Kong, made up 17 per cent of exports in 2008, while Japan was 11 per cent. Back then North America was the leading market, holding a 22 per cent share of exports. It now holds 7 per cent.

Australia enjoyed many years of solid trade into North America, being the first Southern Hemisphere country to gain market access for citrus to the US in 1993. As more countries gained access to this lucrative market, Australia’s share declined. While Australia’s market development focus has shifted to China, the North American market, including the US and Canada, has settled to a stable demand pattern for Australian oranges and increasingly mandarins, mostly from the West Coast regions. Trade to North America lifted 8 per cent in 2018.

Korea is a developing market for Australian oranges and lifted 48 per cent in 2018 to over 3,000 tonnes. With tariffs approaching zero by 2020 under a free trade agreement, Citrus Australia sees greater opportunities in the Korean market for counter-seasonal citrus from Australia.

ASEAN markets have long been the mainstay of Australian citrus exports, though the mix of markets has changed. Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines have ramped up to become significant markets, while Singapore has been steady at around 10,000 tonnes. Malaysia, once the largest market in the region, has declined in volume by over 50 per cent in ten years.

The Middle East markets have increased more than 3 per cent year-on-year over the decade, although they dipped some 20 per cent in 2018 as other suppliers increased their share in the region and traded more directly with end markets rather than through the UAE hub.

Europe remains a small opportunistic market for Australian citrus, with some niche opportunities for high-end fruit that can withstand the long distance and freight costs.

Citrus Australia has been focused on developing sustained export growth that has provided viable returns for growers large and small.

The range of navel oranges and the development of new seedless mandarin varieties to meet market needs have been instrumental in the growth enjoyed over the last few years, along with a cohesive team of professional exporters supported by Citrus Australia.

 

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

Author: Wayne Prowse

Australian stonefruit ready for retail

New export programme aims to build market share for Australian stonefruit in China

It’s not hard to see why China is the word on the Australian stonefruit industry’s lips.

Having gained direct access to the Asian nation for nectarines in 2016, Australian peaches, plums and apricots were approved for export in late 2017. The opening propelled the industry to its best export performance in over a decade, with 17,785 tonnes of fruit shipped internationally over 2017/18, a 27 per cent increase year-on-year.

China was the leading destination for this trade, receiving 4,985 tonnes of fruit directly, while Hong Kong took 3,308 tonnes.

With the 2018/19 export season getting underway in late November (2018), hopes are high these figures will again be eclipsed.

“Last year we had an exceptional year, our best export year since 2003, and we’re confident we’ll match it,” said John Moore, chief executive of peak industry body Summerfruit Australia.

“It will be the first year of full participation by all summerfruit growers in Australia for exports to China, with fruit primarily coming from Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales.”

To aid market development efforts and showcase the full capabilities of the industry, Australia’s Summerfruit Export Development Alliance (SEDA) – a body that sits within Summerfuit Australia – has developed a concentrated retail programme for the Chinese market.

Backed by a Food Sources grant from the Victorian state government, the programme will see eight Australian growers supply fruit directly to selected retail partners.

After SEDA called for expressions of interest in the programme in mid-2018, the participating growers were selected based on their ability to meet defined quality specifications.

An independent programme facilitator, appointed by SEDA, will conduct inspections upon each consignment’s departure to ensure the quality specifications continue to be met, while there will also be a provision for the Chinese retailers to have the fruit assessed upon arrival.

The programme’s remit isn’t just to highlight the quality of Australian stonefruit; it also aims to bring the category to the forefront of Chinese consumers’ minds.

A wide range of point-of-sale and promotional materials have been developed especially for the programme, while participating growers will send extra fruit to the retailers at no added charge in order to facilitate in-store sampling.

The SEDA programme will operate independently from the established Taste Australia retail programme, which also includes stonefruit promotions.

Ian McAlister, chair of SEDA, said one of the immediate benefits of the programme has been the level of collaboration it has promoted between participating growers. By McAlister's admission, no single Australian exporter has the capacity to deal with a large retailer on their own. By working together, the goal is to drive value growth for the category.

“What they (retailers) demand is consistency of product and the continuous supply of product,” McAlister said. “You can’t come in for one week, send a couple of containers, then be out of the market for three weeks.

“Under this programme, every grower will retain their identity, but if we can get a benchmark standard and consistency it will give the Chinese consumers and retailers the confidence that we can deliver again and again.”

Over 120 Australian stonefruit growers registered to send fruit to China ahead of the 2018/19 season, up from 76 on the year prior, indicating the willingness among the industry to grow this market. With this in mind, provisions have already been made to expand the retail programme.

“It’s been clearly explained to SEDA members that this is a pilot programme to demonstrate to the Chinese retailers that this can work,” Moore explained. “Eventually, as demand grows, we’ll need to source more and more fruit, so other growers will be encouraged to come onboard, providing they can meet the benchmark quality.”

Read more about the SEDA retail programme in the December 2018/January 2019 edition of Asiafruit Magazine, out now.

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit  Author: Matthew Jones

Hort Connections 2019

AUSVEG and PMA Australia-New Zealand Limited (PMA A-NZ) have again united to deliver the joint industry conference and Trade Show, Hort Connections 2019.

Hort Connections 2019 will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre 24–26 June 2019. Members in the horticulture industry will be inspired to aim high, with the theme ‘Growing our Food Future’ headlining the conference. The event will cater to buyers and sellers from every segment of the fresh produce and floral supply chain including seed companies, growers, packers, processors, shippers, importers and exporters, wholesalers and retailers, foodservice, associated suppliers to the industry,
and many more.

Following on from the successful Hort Connections 2018 in Brisbane, this year’s event is set to become the most influential space for networking, education and business for the entire fresh produce industry.

China: Cold storage forecast: capacity will exceed 53 million tons in 2018

With the rapid development of the domestic cold chain logistics market, the market demand for cold storage is becoming more and more prominent. Online shopping, fresh e-commerce, and fruit and vegetable home delivery are all popular choices in the current consumer market. For online shopping, fresh e-commerce, fruit and vegetable home delivery, transportation is very important. Benefiting from the growth of such consumption, the domestic cold chain logistics market has also developed rapidly. It is estimated that the size of China's cold chain logistics market will reach nearly 300 billion yuan in 2018. By 2020, the market will be nearly 470 billion yuan.

Cold storage is one of the important infrastructures in the cold chain logistics industry. At present, the domestic cold storage demand is mainly concentrated in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, Shenzhen, as well as Fujian, Tianjin, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shandong, Chongqing, Henan and other places.

In recent years, the number of cold storage facilities in China has increased, but there is still room for growth when considering the huge potential market. According to statistics, China's cold storage capacity exceeded 48 million tons in 2017 and will continue to grow in the future. It is estimated that by 2018, China's cold storage capacity will exceed 53 million tons.

Source: China Business Intelligence Network via www.freshplaza.com

Publication date : 12/18/2018

T&G Global: Orchard Rd to export first Aussie Tulare Giant sugar plums to China

T&G Global is gearing up for harvests of Australian Tulare Giant sugar plums with plans to ship the fruit to Asian markets under its Orchard Rd brand.

The company’s general manager of Australia (exports) Paul Scheffer says the fruit will start to be picked in small volumes next week with most growers expecting to start picking between Christmas and New Year.

“Size is looking larger than usual with our expectation of increased production of Tulare Giant that will be in good supply until mid-February,” Scheffer says.

“Export markets will include Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and mainland China. Retailers will be ranging under the Orchard Rd brand with promotional activity being scheduled for the lead-up into Lunar New Year.”

The option to export to mainland China has been made possible by the country’s decision in November 2017 to expand its market opening for Australian stonefruit to also include plums, peaches and apricots in a protocol that already included nectarines.

“We’ve got growers registered to meet the protocol for that direct access to China; that protocol will play a big part of what we do with Tulare,” says Scheffer, adding the fruit will be assisted into the market by T&G’s own Shanghai office.

“Initially the demand was purely taken up in Asia, but in the last two seasons we’ve released the product domestically here in Australia and that’s really given us a good balance for our growers.

“We’re doing a lot of targeted marketing around Chinese New Year as well – it’s been really successful.”

T&G has commercialization rights in Australia for the variety, which was bred by the University of California Davis.

“We are fortunate the have growers who are committed to delivering a great quality product with excellent eating characteristics,” says Scheffer.

He adds Tulare Giants are the earliest plums to hit the shelves in Australia, and the product should fit nicely into export markets as well as a counter-seasonal option to supplies from California.

Released as a cross-category brand less than a year ago with the goal of broader consumer recognition in Australia, Orchard Rd has expanded internationally.

Scheffer says the company has already been exporting USA berries and cherries into Asia under the label, as well as New Zealand berries and grapes for Japan.

“Our berry fruit and our sugar plums will probably be our two big Orchard Rd drivers for the summer,” he says.

Source: https://www.freshfruitportal.com