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Australian avocado production grows

In the past decade production of avocados has nearly doubled, projected to 115,000 tonnes by 2025
At 77,000 tonnes in 2017/18 the Australian avocado industry is on a long term upward trajectory.

“One-third of Australia’s avocado trees have yet to reach their prime production years but enough of the new plantings have come on line this year to boost the industry above last year’s 66,000 tonnes,” said Avocados Australia CEO, John Tyas.

Tyas says by 2025 the industry is on track to produce around 115,000 tonnes annually.

“Our production in 2017/18 was 17 per cent more than the previous year, with a gross value of production estimated at A$557 million.”

Domestic consumption has held steady for a second year in a row at 3.5kg per person, per year, but Tyas is confident there is more room for growth.

Most of the Australian supply is grown in Queensland, who host 62 per cent of plantings, second to Western Australia at 25 per cent, followed by New South Wales, Victoria and Australia.

“In 2017/18 Hass represented 78 per cent of production. Shepard, a green-skin variety grown in Queensland through late Summer and Autumn, made up 19 per cent of production, and at that time of year, is the dominant Australian variety on the market.”

To help balance supply and demand in future, Avocados Australia is working with Hort Innovation to expand both domestic and international markets. “At the moment we export less than five per cent of our production annually, but that will increase as our production increases,” Tyas said.

Currently Malaysia and Singapore are the main export markets for Australian avocados.

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

Aussie stonefruit season “progressing beautifully”, says Cutri Fruit

Australia’s leading grower-packer of stonefruit has noted “excellent” growing conditions this year with exports already underway since last month along with a new partnership.

Cutri Fruit CEO Gaethan Cutri told Fresh Fruit Portal the season had been running “solidly”, while he was upbeat about a joint venture for exports with LaManna Premier Group (LPG) to form LPG Cutri Fruit Global Exports.

“Having the right people enables businesses to grow and become better at what they do – we believe our joint venture has that and will bring this to both our businesses,” Cutri said.

“LPG are exporting in other categories which we see to be a great bolt-on to what we do and now gives both businesses a 12-month offer between fruits and vegetables to customers worldwide.”

He said Cutri Fruit’s farms, which in stonefruit are split between nectarines (45%), peaches (45%) and plums (10%), witnessed great chill hours throughout the winter and were “relatively unscathed by the frosts”.

“Each year we progress down the farming journey we get better at being able to mitigate any potential challenges that arise, so each year seems to feel more manageable than the last,” Gaethan Cutri said.

“The start of the season is usually really challenging in terms of training new staff – some don’t even know what a nectarine is – but we are lucky that we have a lot of returning staff this season who are already familiar with our business, our systems and our products.

“We appear to be three to seven days ahead of last year, however last season was abnormally late.”

He added early season fruit volumes were down on last year, so the group believed sales on the domestic market would likely be strong throughout the remainder of the season, which so far had been “progressing beautifully”.

Cutri mentioned that as a large portion of the company’s plantings were export-focused, they were predominantly made up of white-fleshed varieties in nectarines and peaches. But yellow-fleshed fruit was still on offer.

“There are markets around the world who also just prefer yellow fleshed fruit, so we will export both this season,” he said.

“As we are Australia’s largest grower and packer of stone fruit, we need to export all the fruits that we have, in order to move the sheer volume of fruit. Plus, we don’t want to be pigeon-holed as being only a white-flesh producer.”

The executive also commended industry body Summerfruit Australia for setting the standards of where quality needed to be, following a challenging initial campaign in China a couple of years ago.

“Australia has always been sought after for its clean and green nature, fruit taste and healthful eating experience,” he said.

“We have been exporting to the Asian markets for over 30 years now, so we already know what the needs of the customers are, but it’s been a re-learning experience complying with the specific China protocols, which is something that we cherish greatly so we need to see that it’s done correctly.

“We have had to make some changes in training staff to the expectation and a few changes to how we operate in the orchard, but that’s all just a part of what we need to do. In keeping up with the practices we have implemented we hope to have a fantastic export season into China.”

He clarifies the group will be sending fruit “all over Asia and pretty much every market we have access to”.

“We are always looking to explore new opportunities – having multiple markets means we are never reliant on just one market,” Cutri said.

Cutri Fruit is also starting to see the fruits of its labor in trialing new cultivars, but it is still early days.

“All I can say is that we have some exclusive varieties of super-sweet plums already in the ground, with small volumes available for sampling this season,” he said.

“Their health benefits will rival the likes of the Queen Garnet plums, as well as blueberries and pomegranates. They will be the future of stonefruit.

“We have also delved into avocados, planting up an initial block of 40 hectares which are growing beautifully. They haven’t been in the ground for even two years, and this year we received a small sample of fruit, which were amazingly delicious and had excellent shelf life.”

Source: https://www.freshfruitportal.com 

Bug boat booted due to biosecurity risk

Vessel directed to leave Australian territory due to biosecurity risk


  • The vessel contained brown marmorated stink bugs and other stink bugs
  • Stink bugs could risk Australia’s $12B horticulture industry and also hurt other parts of our $60B agricultural industry
  • A boat carrying cars and machinery has been sent home because bugs on board could have decimated our $12 billion horticultural industry.

    The Triumph, owned by Armacup, had come through multiple ports and will now go back to China.

    Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said Australia would never compromise on keeping our farm sector safe.

    “Australia is extremely lucky to be relatively isolated by sea, which helps us keep pests and diseases out,” Minister Littleproud said.

    “We sell our produce for premium prices overseas because it’s clean and green – we have very few pests and diseases. If we don’t protect our borders from invading pests and diseases, we could lose our $60 billion farm industries. We won’t shirk the tough decisions – our $60 billion farm industry must be kept safe.

    “Department of Agriculture inspections found more than a hundred brown marmorated stink bugs and other bugs on the Triumph, which indicates a live population on the boat. These bugs eat everything from tomatoes to apples and broccoli to beans. They also gather in people’s houses and stink to high heaven.

    “The risk to our industry was unacceptable. We directed the vessel to leave our waters, which it now has. I thank the shipping line and operator for openly cooperating with us on the issue.”

    The bug comes from Asia and is now wreaking havoc in parts of Europe.

    The Federal Department of Agriculture put heightened surveillance for cargo vessels and additional pre-arrival reporting in place across extra exporting countries and goods this BMSB season.

    For more information on BMSB seasonal measures visit http://www.agriculture.gov.au/import/before/brown-marmorated-stink-bugs

    Fast Facts:
    • BMSB feeds on over 300 plant species, including fruit, vegetables and ornamental plants.
    • It is not found in Australia and can severely damage, fruit and vegetable crops rendering them unsellable or reducing the size of the crop.
    • Adult BMSB can also enter vehicles, homes and factories for shelter over winter. Some people can suffer an allergic reaction from contact with BMSB.
    • From September to April there is a heightened risk that BMSB could arrive in Australia on imported cargo.

New South Wales cherry growers turning to Chinese buyers

Cherry Growers Association Australia president Tom Eastlake is preparing for what could be a game-changing season. Eastlake is one of the many cherry growers around Young (New South Wales) gearing up to export their produce to China for the first time, thanks to relaxed new trade laws.

The climate around Young makes it prime territory for cherries and the NSW Department of Primary Industry said the Young region has seen some of the highest numbers of farmers registering to export to China in the state.

Growers have previously been restricted to sea-freighting their cherries to mainland China market because of Queensland fruit fly contamination fears. Now a new free-trade agreement between Australia and China has allowed growers to airfreight their produce after treating it for fruit fly.

Before the agreement, only growers in Tasmania could airfreight to mainland China, thanks to the island state being fruit fly free, while mainland Australian growers could export to Hong Kong.

But Eastlake said Chile was Australia's biggest competitor for the Chinese market. The South American nation could produce 200,000 tonnes of cherries this season, Mr Eastlake said, while Australian growers are hopeful for a record season this year of 18,000 tonnes.

"But it can be six weeks before the consumers are eating it [Chilean cherries]," Mr Eastlake said, with the majority of Chilean cherries moved by sea freight. Now, theoretically, Young cherries could find themselves on mainland Chinese shelves three days after being picked.

"You just can't beat something that's 72 hours from the tree. You just can't do it. The flavour's better. The appearance is better," he said. "Nowhere in the world can get things to South-East Asia as quickly as we can."

He said growers in Australia needed to get at least $8 a kilogram for cherries just to remain in the industry. "There's no money in it at $7 or $8. We're not making money hand over fist. We're not out there buying Rolls Royces."

Source: canberratimes.com.au via www.freshplaza.com 

Australian table grapes - forecast almost 18% above last year’s estimate

USDA GAIN report


Australia’s production of table grapes in 2018/19 is expected to be higher due to more favourable seasonal conditions, higher yields and a larger harvest area. This forecast is almost 18 percent above last year’s estimate, which was revised down due to poor weather, reduced yields, and a late season. Australian table grape producers are increasingly focusing on the growing export market as a result of strong international demand, especially from China.

Exports comprise almost 70 percent of production in recent years and are likely to grow further with the impending removal of Chinese tariffs on table grapes under the China-Australia FTA. Table grape imports, mainly from the United States, are likely to remain the same as 2018/19, primarily due to the strengthening U.S. dollar.

Production
Table grape production is forecast at 200,000 MT in 2018/19, up almost 18 percent on the previous year due to favorable seasonal conditions and higher yields. The harvested area is forecast to expand to 12,000 hectares in 2018/19, up 9 percent in anticipation of higher yields and an expanded harvest area.

Production in the previous year featured poor yields in a number of areas due to hotter temperatures. Most grape producers in Australia are small and medium-sized family businesses, with a few large growers. Sunraysia is Australia’s largest table grape growing region, producing an estimated 80 percent of total production. Early season regions include the Northern Territory and Queensland with 70 percent of late season production from the Sunraysia region of Victoria, based at Mildura and Robinvale.

Australian exports of table grapes, 2012-2017 (in 1,000 tons)

Click here for the full report.


Publication date : 11/23/2018

Source: www.freshplaza.com 

Large ‘Tesla ships’ all-electric container barges are launching this autumn

The Dutch company Port-Liner is building two giant all-electric barges dubbed the ‘Tesla ships‘. The company announced that the vessels will be ready by this autumn and will be inaugurated by sailing the Wilhelmina canal in the Netherlands.

The 100 million-euro project supported by a €7m subsidy from the European Union is expected to have a significant impact on local transport between the ports of Amsterdam, Antwerp, and Rotterdam.
Chief executive of Port-Liner Ton van Meegen told The Loadstar:
“There are some 7,300 inland vessels across Europe and more than 5,000 of those are owned by entrepreneurs in Belgium and the Netherlands. We can build upwards of 500 a year, but at that rate it would take some 50 years to get the industry operating on green energy.”

The first 6 barges are expected to remove 23,000 trucks from the roads annually in the Netherlands and replace them with zero-emission transport.

Port-Liner is developing its own vessels, but they developed a battery pack technology that houses the batteries inside a container.
Meegen says that it could allow them to retrofit existing barges:

“This allows us to retrofit barges already in operation, which is a big boost for the industry’s green energy credentials.The containers are charged onshore by carbon-free energy provider Eneco, which sources solar power, windmills and renewables.”

The first vessels will complete their maiden voyage later this year. As we have often discussed in the past, all modes of transportation are gradually being converted to electric propulsion and that includes maritime transport.

It’s also an important mode of transportation to convert since it produces a lot of pollution. Some of the world’s largest cargo ships emit pollution comparable to millions of passenger cars put together.

I think it’s an exciting time on that front because we have seen several major projects like this one in the past few months. A new all-electric cargo ship with a massive 2.4 MWh battery pack in China and two massive all-electric ferries in Sweden and Denmark come to mind.


Publication date : 11/22/2018

Source: www.freshplaza.com 

Japanese persimmons to go on sale in Australia for the first time

Following a regulatory change earlier this year, persimmons grown in Japan will go on sale in Australia this month for the first time, the Sydney office of the Japan External Trade Organization has stated.

In January, the Australian government relaxed quarantine conditions that had required persimmons grown in Japan to be treated with a specific pesticide to be imported. The harmful effect of the pesticide on crop quality effectively prevented exports until now.

Under the new trial import program, roughly 1 ton of persimmons grown in Wakayama Prefecture in western Japan have been imported and will go on sale from Friday through Sunday at select Asian grocery stores around Sydney.

"One persimmon can provide the recommended daily intake of vitamins A and C," Shigekazu Kimura, a senior official of Kihoku-kawakami Agricultural Cooperative Society in Wakayama, said at a JETRO-hosted event in Sydney, explaining the many health benefits of the sweet fruit.

Persimmons are still a lesser-known fruit in Australia, but their popularity is growing.

Source: kyodonews.net via www.freshplaza.com 


Publication date : 11/22/2018

Trade volume between Qatar and Australia to grow

According to the Ambassador of Australia to Qatar, Dr Axel Wabenhorst, trade volumes of vegetables between Qatar and Australia will continue to grow.

The ambassador also noted that a Qatari business delegation is expected to visit Australia to study opportunities of agricultural investment in Australia in the beginning of next year. “Now, Qatar’s focus is more on the development of its agricultural sector,” he added.

This statement came yesterday during a round table hosted by Australian embassy on ‘Food Security and the Australian Agricultural Experience’ at the embassy.

“We also have experience in the field of greenhouses and desalination of water from the sea and this may be useful for the agricultural sector in Qatar,” the ambassador said.

Thepeninsulaqatar.com reported that Wabenhorst added that the embassy was delighted to host Dalene Wray from OBE Organic, as well as representatives from Qatar’s agriculture sector to discuss Australia’s dryland agricultural experience, and how Australia and Qatar can cooperate on food security challenges.


Publication date : 11/22/2018

Source: www.freshplaza.com

FW: MINISTER LITTLEPROUD MEDIA RELEASE: $16.9 million for smart fruit fly management

• Package to deliver high-tech fruit-fly management across Australia

• New technology to give growers advanced warnings of Queensland Fruit Fly movements

• Smart traps to be trialed giving growers instant alerts of fruit-fly detections

Australian fruit and vegetable growers will be given a new edge in the fight against fruit fly, with new high-tech systems giving early warnings of fly movements.

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said a $16.9 million dollar package would assure our trading partners when produce comes from a fruit-fly free area.

"Fruit fly outbreaks cost the horticultural industry millions every year,” Minister Littleproud said.

“If we take control of fruit fly we’ll get access to more premium markets and boost farm gate prices.

“We’ve started a trial of smart-traps that’ll send farmers instant alerts if fruit fly is detected.

“Sensors detect fruit flies in the trap by the way they move and send mobile alerts to growers.

“This can provide farmers the best possible information so they can respond to an outbreak quicker.

“We’re also investing in a national mapping program, to track the movement of QFly in summer.

“The flies make their way south as it warms up and this will let growers know where they are and help us target where to release our sterile fruit flies.
“We’re putting extension officers on the ground to help growers use the latest science.

“They’ll help farmers work through the latest R&D and put it to work in their orchards.

“This package will help protect our $18 billion horticultural industry and reassure our trading partners of the systems we have in place.”

The program would go fly management such as Mediterranean fruit fly areas including in WA, NT and SA, and the native Queensland fruit fly on the East Coast.

Fast Facts:
• Australia’s horticultural production is valued at over $12 billion employing over 50,000 people.

• For the year ending June 2017, Australia exported $2.23 billion worth of horticultural products.

• Fruit flies cost producers in Australia hundreds of millions of dollars annually in control measures and production losses.

 

Costa enters deal to acquire NCF farms

Costa Group (ASX: CGC) is set to consolidate its position in Australia’s two leading fruit export commodities – table grapes and citrus – through the acquisition of Nangiloc Colignan Farm’s (NCF) farming operations in the greater Sunraysia district of North West Victoria.

The company announced today (Nov. 16 AEDT) it had signed a conditional agreement in conjunction with a subsidiary of CK Life Sciences Int’l (Holdings) Inc, through which CK would acquire the farm to be leased to Costa for 20 years.

The group expects the acquisition to be completed in late 2018.

NCF is a grower of high quality citrus and grapes across 567 hectares, including 240 hectares of citrus (103ha Afourer mandarins, 105ha oranges), 204 hectares of table grapes and 123 hectares of wine grapes.

Costa CEO Harry Debney said the acquisition and its focus on the Sunraysia growing region opened up growth opportunities that were not available in the South Australian Riverland, an area where Costa produces approximately half of the citrus crop.

“This acquisition and location in the Sunraysia region will reduce reliance on any one region in our portfolio and will also open up additional growth opportunities,” Debney said.

“In particular, with respect to Afourer mandarins and navel oranges this will allow us to further take advantage of export market demand.”

Costa said NCF had “attractive plantings” of proprietary table grape varieties, and it was expected the majority of table grape sales from the farm would be for export markets.

Up to a third of the NCF citrus plantings are less than five years old., while Cossta plans to convert wine grape vineyards to citrus plantings over time.

The operation has a main operating shed, cool rooms, machinery sheds and workshops, as well as 3,800ML of water under permanent licence and more than 100ML of irrigation dam capacity.

“Over recent years Costa has embarked upon both greenfield growth and M&A activity in the citrus category. This has been fuelled by expanded favourable export markets and free trade agreements with countries including Japan, South Korea and China,” Debney said.

“In order to further capitalise on this, Costa is trialling several new mandarin, orange and lemon varieties on commercial sized blocks that have market potential with improved attributes including, seedless, high brix (sugar), red flesh and different maturity timing.”

With the current 2,429 hectares of citrus category plantings Costa has in the South Australian Riverland, the NCF acquisition will bring the Company’s total plantings in the Riverland and Sunraysia regions to 2,996 hectares.

The deal comes just days after Bennelong Australian Equity Partners announced it had increased its stake in the company over recent months to hold 12.5% voting power in Costa, on behalf of security holders Citi, NAS, BNP, RBC and RBC Lux.

 

Source: www.freshfruitportal.com 

Michael Every of Rabobank: 'New Zealand could be forced to pick a side between US and China'

The US-China trade conflict is developing into a ‘cold’ war for global economic supremacy and could result in New Zealand being forced to pick a side between the two global superpowers, according to Rabobank’s Head of Financial Markets research for Asia-Pacific Michael Every.

And with this threat on the horizon, Mr Every says New Zealand’s agricultural sector should aim to reduce its reliance on individual trade partners and place an increased focus on diversification of its export markets.

Visiting New Zealand last week to speak at a number of Rabobank events in both North and South islands, Mr Every said he expected US-China relations to deteriorate further.

“The clash between the US and China is not going away, it’s not an aberration, it’s going to get worse,” he said.

“China and the US both want to be number one, they both want to be sitting in the driving seat for who gets to set the rules for the global economy and who everyone looks to as the global leader and there’s only room for one in that chair.”

Mr Every said increasing tensions could produce a scenario where New Zealand is forced to choose sides.

“China is aggressively pursuing trade expansion and there may come a time when a gun is put to New Zealand’s forehead and you’ll be asked are you with us, or are you with the US,” he said.

“If you answer the US, the Chinese could slam the door shut.”

Mr Every said China’s growing global influence and use of policies inconsistent with free trade had provoked the US to retaliate with tariffs on Chinese imports and other as anti-China trade policy.

“Last month the US concluded a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico, which requires them to notify the US before entering into any agreements with non-market economies such as China. This was economic warfare dressed up as trade and the type of move the US may try to employ in the Asia-Pacific region.” he said.

In March this year, 11 nations, including New Zealand, signed up to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The TPP was originally intended to include the US, but it withdrew from negotiations in 2017. In January, however, US President Donald Trump signalled he could push harder for “substantially better" Pacific trade deal for the US.

“At some point the US is going to come crashing back into the Asia-Pacific region because it’s so geopolitically important,” Mr Every said. “And the message may well be that the price of protecting New Zealand is a new trade deal on their terms and which forbids, or greatly restricts, dealing with China.”

An ultimatum from either of the US or China would place New Zealand in a perilous position given its significant trade ties with both countries.

New Zealand’s agricultural exports to China have grown rapidly in recent years and China is now New Zealand’s most important trading partner. New Zealand also has a significant trade relationship with the US as well as historically strong diplomatic and cultural ties.

Mr Every said New Zealand farmers and exporters should look to diversify offshore markets, before any concessions are demanded by the US or China.

“New Zealand’s agricultural sector should be looking to further develop links into new growth markets like Japan, Indonesia and India,” he said. “While this may take a lot more effort in the short-term, it will leave agricultural exporters in a better position should the US or China start making demands down the track."

“New Zealand needs to look at it as an opportunity, rather than a threat, and ask ‘what brand can we build for agriculture that allows us to thrive’, because trade protectionism won’t go away.”

Mr Every said with increased market volatility likely, New Zealand farmers should also be taking a close look at their balance sheets.

“Farmers would be wise to shore up their balance sheets so they are robust enough to cope with a scenario where one of New Zealand’s major trading partners withdraws from the market,” he said.

For more information:
Rabobank.com 


Publication date : 11/13/2018

Source: www.freshplaza.com 

Mango season North Queensland 2018

A steady supply of quality mangoes is expected this season; the harvest gets underway in North Queensland. Growers in the Burdekin and Bowen regions started picking this week, with Dimbulah and Mareeba growers set to join them in the coming weeks.

Last year, a glut of mangoes drove the prices down for growers due to a clash in output between northern growing regions. According to Ben Martin from Marto's Mangoes, this year the harvest would be spaced out in the regions, which will be a win-win for growers and consumers.

“There doesn’t seem to be the large volume of Kensington Prides around as last year, which should keep the prices up a bit, however consumers will be getting great quality mangoes,” Martin said. “We had a clash between the growing regions last year, which meant there was an oversupply of fruit. This year the Katherine fruit has almost been picked… it all looks like it will flow from one region onto the next so there will be a good steady supply of mangoes for the whole season.”

Martin said that the trees that were battered in the Bowen region during Cyclone Debbie last year, were starting to come back and Bowen-Burdekin growers would continue to pick for the next four to five weeks.

Mareeba grower and Australian Mango Industry Association deputy chairman John Nucifora said Dimbulah growers would start picking in two weeks, with Mareeba growers starting in early December. The season will continue until March.

Northqueenslandregister.com.au reported on Nucifora saying that more than 10 million trays of mangoes were produced Australia wide last year, with Mareeba growers producing about 2.5 million trays. He said he expected there would be a similar yield this year.


Publication date : 7/11/2018

Source: www.freshplaza.com