AHEIA - Providing leadership to support and strengthen Australia's trade in horticultural produce.

Australian onions on export expansion path

Developing new avenues for international trade is a priority for Australian onion growers and marketers
ustralia’s onion industry is working on a five-year export market development plan, with Asia and the Middle East key targets.

The move comes amid incidents of oversupply in the domestic market and a steady decline in shipments to Europe.

“Through an industry funded project, we will conduct in-market trade research in high prospect markets to identify opportunities for product differentiation or customisation,” explained Peter Shadbolt, chairman of peak industry body Onions Australia.

“We will also support exporters to build capability and capacity to understand and service the emerging markets of Asia and the Middle East and look to collaborate more with the vegetable industry on in-bound and out-bound trade missions and trade shows.”

Shadbolt said Australia had a “seasonal advantage” over northern hemisphere suppliers when it came to servicing Asia and the Middle East, hence the reason why these have been identified as target markets by the Australian industry.

He said long-term prospects look particularly good for Australian onions in Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Qatar and Bahrain, although this is heavily dependent on the Australian dollar staying within the “current favourable range.”

Due to high production and export costs, the onion industry, like many of its Australian counterparts, knows it can only be competitive in niche markets where a segment is prepared to pay a premium, based on product integrity and a seasonal window advantage.

Therefore, to ensure a viable long-term export avenue is created, the work being done on the export market development plan will help prepare the industry for a time when exchange rates may be less favourable.

“The industry must work on reducing costs at every level of the supply chain by whatever means possible, while at the same time developing differentiated products that suit the needs of a niche market segment in a particular export market, for which they are prepared to pay a premium,” Shadbolt added.

“If Australia is to compete in the longer term, it must look to develop products customised to the opportunities in niche markets through variety selection, growing methods, quality specifications or packaging.”

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

Horticulture production rises remain on track, according to quarterly figures

Figures released for the December quarter have confirmed that the gross value of horticultural production remains on track to pass $10billion dollars in 2018.

The Agricultural commodities report released by ABARES has estimated production across the major fruit and vegetable categories will continue its upward trend in terms of value increasing from $9.99billion to nearly $10.3billion in the 2017-18 financial year. Both vegetables and fruit and nuts are on track to be worth $4.1billion each, while table and dried grapes are set to increase from $364million to $374million.

This comes on the back of an increase in production which is forecast across the major categories. Potatoes are expected to rise from 1,295 kilotonnes (kt) to 1,385 kt, and onions are set to rise by 22 kt this financial year, and tomatoes 11 kt. In terms of fruit, bananas will rise by 28 kt according to the ABARES data, and oranges will be up from 395 to 418 kt. However, some produce lines are tipped to reduce slightly, including apples which will fall by just 2 kt, while carrot production will decrease by 4 kt.

Horticulture exports are tipped for another major rise in value, jumping from $2.5billion to $3.1billion. According to ABARES fruit exports should increase in value from $1billion in 2016-17 to more than $1.3billion in 2017-18, while tree nut exports look set for a rise of $310million. Vegetable exports will also rise, but by a much smaller margin of just $10million.

The increase in exports will continue to be led by the Chinese market, with the value continuing to increase from $260million to $341million in the next financial year. Fruit exports into the country are expected to again rise dramatically from $187million to $258million. Tree nuts and vegetables will also have slight increases in value.

The value of exports into Indonesia looks set to fall in this financial year by just over $13million. It is a similar story for the United States, with a significant drop in the value of tree nuts from $82.1million to $43.3million leading to an overall decrease of Australian horticultural produce into the country. However strong exports across all three categories (fruit, nuts and vegetables) means the value of exports to is Japan expected to rise from $178million $212million.

The full report can be viewed here

Publication date: 12/12/2017
Author: Matthew Russell
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com

First Australian broccoli exports hit South Korea

In an Australian first, broccoli direct from the Lockyer Valley has been exported to Seoul in South Korea this week.

South Korea is Asia’s fifth largest economy and imports more than 70% of its food and agricultural products. The Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) which started in December 2014, reduces trade and investment barriers and helps level the playing field for Australian exporters competing with those from the USA, Europe, Chile and ASEAN countries, who also benefit from trade deals with Korea.

“This is really exciting for us” said Michael Sippel, Chairman of Lockyer Valley Growers. “Currently only 1% of vegetable imports into South Korea come from Australia and consumer tastes and demand for luxury and high-quality food products are increasing” added Michael.

Until recently, confusion in Australia existed about whether broccoli and other leafy green vegetables had market access into South Korea. Korean authorities recently confirmed access and the first shipment of Australian Broccoli landed in Seoul this week following a direct flight from Brisbane.

“Our vegetable producers in Queensland are gaining an international reputation as producers of high-quality clean, green and safe vegetables. Vegetable producers, especially those based in the Lockyer Valley where a lot of leafy-green vegetables are grown, are excited about the export potential for their produce to South Korea” Michael said.

Other leafy-green vegetables that have export potential in South Korea include lettuce, cauliflower, spinach, kale, Chinese cabbage and brussells sprouts.

Lockyer Valley Growers received funding from Austrade as part of the Free Trade Agreement Training Provider Grant and are implementing the project in conjunction with Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers, Bowen-Gumlu Growers Association and the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

A fact sheet on KAFTA and the opportunities for vegetable growers has been developed and can be downloaded at www.lockyervalleygrowers.com.au 

For More information:
Michael Sippel
Lockyer Valley Growers
Tel: +61 0418 479 062Salter
ido@lockyervalleygrowers.com.au

Source: www.freshplaza.com Publication date: 8/25/2017

Irradiation facility enables NZ to import AU winter tomatoes

The Bowen region is Australia’s largest winter producer of vegetables. Tomatoes are by far its biggest crop, totalling US $120 million a year. Yet, even though it could offer consumers access to fresh tomatoes in the winter, its export market has been extremely limited.

The problem is the Queensland fruit fly, an aggressive pest that Australia once controlled with pesticides that are no longer allowed. However, thanks to a protocol in place that links Australia to New Zealand, tomato exporters have another option: irradiation.

Australia irradiates the tomatoes to ensure there are no pests and New Zealand accepts irradiation as proof of insect control. The Joint FAO/IAEA Division has worked with Australia and other countries to bring irradiation to the fore as a suitable replacement for chemical treatments.

The timing is perfect. As Australia’s tomatoes are ripening, New Zealand’s tomatoes are going out of season. And because the two countries have agreed that irradiation is a safe and appropriate way to meet insect pest control requirements, New Zealand can import irradiated winter tomatoes and a host of other fresh produce from Australia’s orchards and fields.

source: iaea.org via www.freshsource.com 

Publication date: 6/30/2017

Australia: Queensland fresh produce on show in Taiwan

Six Queensland producers from Australia’s Murray Darling Basin will be showcasing their produce as part of the ‘Now in Season’ campaign in Taiwan.

In a release, state Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) senior industry development officer Justin Heaven said this was an opportunity for producers to build consumer awareness and demand for Queensland vegetables.

“Producers will be selling their high quality produce through several CitySuper stores in Taiwan over 10 days, culminating with a showcase event on 14 June 2017,” Heaven said.

“This will include a range of in-store promotions, tastings and other networking activities designed to build the presence of Queensland fresh produce.

“The produce that will be showcased includes broccoli, cauliflower, onions, red cabbage, Chinese cabbage, celery, baby leaf products and fresh juice.”

He said growers would also meet with importers, distributors and retail partners to discuss export opportunities.

Heaven said Taiwan had been highlighted as a potential growth market with the total value of fresh produce imported into Taiwan reaching US$295.4 million in 2016, up from US$135.6 million the previous year.

“The Taiwan market does have strict import protocols and regulatory requirements in place, so producers considering trading with Taiwan should investigate the market requirements thoroughly,” he said.

The ‘Now In Season’ campaign is a multi-industry, multi-country integrated promotional program designed to raise awareness of the advantages of quality, safe and healthy Australian horticulture products.

Heaven leads a project that supports irrigators to develop new, high value, export oriented horticulture industries in the Queensland Murray Darling Basin to increase economic activity and employment is areas affected by irrigation water buy-backs under the Murray Darling Basin plan.

www.freshfruitportal.com

Image: Pixabay_b1-photo

‘Now in Season’ heads to Taiwan

Queensland vegetables take centre stage in 10-day promotional programme

Queensland-grown broccoli, cauliflower and onions are among the fresh products being showcased in Taiwan this week as part of the ‘Now in Season’ campaign.

The 10-day promotion is being run through several CitySuper stores, with the centrepiece of the campaign being an exhibition event tomorrow (14 June).

“This will include a range of in-store promotions, tastings and other networking activities designed to build the presence of Queensland fresh produce,” said Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) senior industry development officer, Justin Heaven.

“The produce that will be showcased includes broccoli, cauliflower, onions, red cabbage, Chinese cabbage, celery, baby leaf products and fresh juice. Producers will also to meet with importers, distributers and retail partners to discuss exporting opportunities.”

Taiwan has been highlighted as a potential growth market for Queensland's vegetable trade, with the value of overall fresh produce imports into Taiwan reaching A$295m (US$223m) in 2016, up from A$135,586,000 (US$103m) in 2015. Having said this, Heaven explained it was important for potential exporters to do their due diligence.

“The Taiwan market does have strict import protocols and regulatory requirements in place, so producers considering trading with Taiwan should investigate the market requirements thoroughly,” he said.

The ‘Now In Season’ campaign is a multi-industry promotional programme designed to raise awareness of the advantages of quality, safe and healthy Australian horticulture products.

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

Image: Pixabay_congerdesign

 

Slow start to asparagus harvest welcomed by growers managing demand

Australia's largest asparagus growers say spring rainfall has helped slow the harvest and manage supply.

More than 90 per cent of Australian asparagus is grown in Koo Wee Rup, 70 kilometres south-east of Melbourne, and in Mildura in north-western Victoria.

Harvest traditionally begins in August in the north-west and the beginning of September in Koo Wee Rup but southern growers say wet spring weather has tempered the beginning of harvest.

Growers running at 30 per cent of capacity

Australia's largest asparagus grower Joe Vizzarri said the slow start to the season had been welcome news for the industry.

Mr Vizzarri manages a packing house, export and marketing business and several farms in the Koo Wee Rup area.

He said he and neighbouring growers were currently running at approximately 30 per cent of capacity.

"Fortunately, the rain has helped us because our export markets really aren't ready for us until at least October," Mr Vizzarri said.

"So the rain and the slow production has actually been very good for us."

Mr Vizzarri said the spring rain had not affected quality.

"Well look, even though the weather's been pretty ugly, cold and wet etcetera, we're pretty on par with last year's production and it's about to take off in a big way," he said.

Asparagus a difficult crop to manage

James Terry is a Koo Wee Rup asparagus grower and manages export for packing and distribution business Momack Produce.

Mr Terry said the industry was grateful for a steady start to harvest because asparagus could be a very difficult and labour-intensive crop to manage.

Asparagus can grow up to one centimetre per hour, which means growers must be vigilant throughout the season.

"Once we get days of 20 degrees or above, we will be harvesting every day," Mr Terry said.

"It's one of the problems with asparagus production; you can't control its growth speed or rate and it's also highly perishable so you can't store it at all."

Mr Terry said the wet, cool spring conditions allowed better management of supply into domestic and export markets.

He said growers had been forced to deal with a "sudden influx of product" in recent years during harvest, which had created marketing difficulties.

"At this stage we're going along fairly nicely," he said.

Vic Country Hour By Bridget Fitzgerald

Photo: Asparagus harvest begins in Koo Wee Rup, Australia's largest producing asparagus region. (ABC Rural: Bridget Fitzgerald)

 

 

Japanese sweet potato varieties in demand in China

"Every year, Hainan sweet potatoes are planted in August. The crop is ready for harvest around the Spring Festival, which is considerably earlier than sweet potatoes from Northern China. The supply generally last until the middle of June. Our early availability is giving us a competitive advantage compared to other production regions," explains Mr. Wu Fengyao from the Dongfang Fengzaibao Sweet Potato Farmers Cooperative.

"The cold weather that occurred earlier this year affected the growth of sweet potatoes across China. Hainan, fortunately, has been less impacted by this weather. Our output has decreased 10-20% compared with last year. Currently, our sweet potato season nearing its ends. Our sales have almost doubled and our market reach grew."

"The cooperative was founded in 2009. We have registered our  brand under the name Gandi Yuan. We grow sweet potatoes on 65 hectares. We will add an additional 35 hectares this summer. Half of these bases will be used for planting Qingxiang sweet potatoes, a Chinese variety, and the other half will be used for Japanese sweet potatoes."

"The main variety we grow is the Japanese sweet potato. We purchased a small volume of seedlings from a Japanese company located in Hainan province. In addition, we purchased large amounts of Chinese sweet potatoes seeds from two local scientific research institutions. Compared with Chinese sweet potatoes, Japanese sweet potatoes are sweeter and tastier."

"At this stage, our sweet potatoes are mainly sold through the traditional way of selling to domestic cities, such as Shanghai city, Jiangsu and Zhejiang province. We use a combination of organic manure and organic fertilizers. This year we plan to build our own packaging factory. We have no in-house transportation services and we cooperate with external logistics companies. "

Wu Fengyao
Dongfang City FengZai Bao Sweet Potato Farmer Cooperatives 
Tel: +86 13807660393
E-mail: 1029432693@qq.com

Source article: http://www.freshplaza.com

Date published: 10 June 

Australian Costa Group: +26% profit

The long, cold spring in Morocco and the disappointing soft fruit harvest in Tasmania and Atherton Tableland weren't enough to depress the results of the Costa Group. The Australian multinational noted a net profit which was 26.3% higher than last year.


The turnover over the financial year rose by 10.2% and reached 1 billion Australian dollars. The remaining profit was 76.7 million Australian dollars. The company is active in various segments and has cultivation locations in Australia, Morocco and China.

Morocco had a long and cold spring this year, which meant the season started eight weeks late. The harvest concentrated towards the end of the season. As a result of this, the contribution of African Blue, part of the Costa Group, was below expectations.

The soft fruit harvest in both Tasmania and Atherton Tableland was disappointing, which limited the advantages of the off season prices. Within the soft fruit category the company is expanding with cultivations in Morocco, China and Australia. The citrus on the other hand presented well, with an excellent start to 2018. Of the 300 hectares in Riverland, 201 hectares were planted in June, of which 157 hectares citrus and 44 hectares avocado.

Tomatoes and mushrooms performed well with results above expectations.
There was an investment in Monarta farm, a cultivation company of mushrooms, among others. This expansion is on schedule. An investment in 10 hectares of greenhouses for snacking tomatoes has been announced for tomatoes. The greenhouse is to come into production from May 2020. Besides this there was investment in the nursery capacity and the packaging facilities within the group.

Costa Group is investing in the avocado cultivation as a fifth pillar of the company. In the last 18 months 6 companies were taken over, including Koci Farm (FNQ).

 

Publication date: 8/29/2018

Source: www.freshplaza.com 

Beans

History

Beans originated in Central America.

What are they

Beans belong to the pea (Fabaceae) family. They require warm temperatures for growth and yields. The immature pods are eaten as a fresh vegetable.  Two types of fresh beans are grown, with production divided between the climbing or runner bean and the dwarf bean, which has a number of names, such as French, bush, snap or stringless beans.

How are they grown

Optimum air temperatures for good yields and quality are 16°C to 30°C. A frost-free period of 120 days is required. Where temperatures exceed 35°C, pollination of flowers may be poor and beans may be short, flat and curled with many second grade and reject beans.

Where are they grown

All Australian states.

Variety

French and Runner.

How to know when they are ripe

Harvesting occurs about two weeks after flowering. First picking occurs 7 to 11 weeks are planting, depending upon season.

Pick beans when they are over 15cm in length, with half-sized seeds. Younger beans wilt rapidly. Best quality beans are straight with smooth pods.

Dwarf beans are picked two to five times over 7 to 15 days, when the beans are 10 to 13cm long, depending on variety.

Baby beans can be picked for gourmet markets. These are less than 10cm long.

Seasonality

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

June

Jul

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Beans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weather impacts

Beans should be planted in a sheltered area. Winds damage leaves and destroy flowers, and pods are deformed when they rub against supports, leaves and stems.

Temperatures below 10°C during flowering and pod setting may result in curling and russetting of pods.

Local market

Fresh and processed.

Storage

Store beans at 4.5 to 6.0°C at 90 to 95% relative humidity for one to three weeks. Bacterial soft rot and Sclerotinia may appear in the middle of packages if beans are packed when wet.

Nutrition

They contain good levels of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamin A and vitamin C.

Packaging

Cool beans to 4.5 to 6.0°C immediately after harvesting. Grade beans during picking. Pack into 22L or 36L plastic crates or 10kg cartons.

For good presentation and extra life, dwarf beans and baby beans may be packed into 300g punnets and covered with clear plastic, with 12 punnets stacked on a tray.

Do not market over-mature, small, misshapen or blemished beans. Reject beans may amount to a quarter of the crop.

 

Information from:

 Western Australia Department of Agriculture and Food https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/beans/growing-fresh-runner-and-dwarf-beans-western-australia (January 2016)

 

Capsicum

History

The Capsicum species originated in South and Central America, and Christopher Columbus brought it back to Europe when he returned from the Americas. Records show that capsicum has been used in cooking since 6000 BC. In Australia, capsicum became popular thanks to European and Asian immigrants who use it extensively.

What are they

They belong to the Solanaceae family along with tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant. They are often referred to as ‘peppers’ and come in a variety of colours, flavours and sizes. They are commonly used in stir fries and salads and can be stuffed or grilled and marinated in garlic and olive oil.

How are they grown

Capsicums thrive in warm conditions and are particularly sensitive to cold and do not grow below 10ºC. They grow best in deep well drained, medium textured soils, but will not tolerate saline water.

Where are they grown

Capsicums are grown in most vegetable regions in Australia that have a temperature range of approximately 15ºC to 32ºC.

Variety

Varieties have a primary mature colour that is usually green, but may be yellow or purple. They also have a secondary mature colour that is usually red, but may be orange or yellow or other colours.

How to know when they are ripe

Capsicums can be picked green at the mature primary stage. This is when they are firm, have thick walls and are dark green. If picked too early, they have thinner walls and are inclined to wilt.

Capsicums usually begin flowering 1-2 months after planting and will take up to around 110 days from planting to first harvest which then continue until cold weather reduces yield or frost stops growth.

Seasonality

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

June

Jul

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Capsicum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weather impacts

Capsicums can be damaged by frost. Plants affected by cool weather tend to harden and seldom regain the vigorous growth necessary for high yields. During cold weather, the fruit remains small, hard and malformed because of uneven pollination. The fruit may also have numerous growth cracks.

Fruit may be sun-scorched during hot weather and will show poor setting and poor colouring when temperatures are above 33°C.

Rain and high humidity can increase diseases.

Local market

Fresh consumption with a small amount being  processed.

Storage

Capsicums should not be stored for long periods, or with fruit such as tomatoes that produce ethylene as the gas reduces storage life. Storage conditions should be 7-13 ͦ C at 90-95% relative humidity for a maximum of two to three weeks.

Nutrition

Capsicums are an excellent source of vitamin A and C (red contain more than green capsicums). They are also a good source of dietary fibre, vitamin E, B6 and folate. The sweetness of capsicums is due to their natural sugars (green capsicums have less sugar than red capsicums).

Packaging

Capsicums are usually packed on their sides in 6 kg and 12 kg cartons or plastic returnable containers. If being sent directly to a supermarket the standard black supermarket crate is used.

Machines are available that will wash, brush and grade capsicums for size. The fruit also need to be visually graded for colour, so the package contains fruit only of one colour.

Other uses- dried pickled etc

Capsicum can be used to produce the spice paprika. Red capsicums are dried with forced-air heaters and ground to a fine powder.

Medical or natural medicine use

Capsicums are used as a herbal medicine to treat poor circulation, fever and colds, and digestive disorders. Oleo-resins can also be distilled from paprika for the use in pharmaceutical products.

 

References

Northern Territory Primary Industries ‘Capsicum and Chilli Fact Sheet’ http://www.nt.gov.au/d/Primary_Industry/Content/File/horticulture/vegetables/VF4_capsicum_chilli.pdf (January 2016)   
Western Australia Department of Agriculture https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/capsicums-and-chillies/growing-capsicums-and-chillies (January 2016)  

Carrot

History

Carrots were grown for their aromatic leaves and seeds rather than their roots. They are native to Europe and south-western Asia. Wild red, black, yellow, white and purple carrots grew in Afghanistan in the 7th century. The Dutch first cultivated orange carrots. Carrots seeds reached Australia on the First Fleet in 1788 and were grown on Norfolk Island by convicts.

What are they

The carrot comes from the Daucus Carota family and is a root vegetable.  When fresh it has a crisp texture that is usually orange in colour, though purple, black, red, white, and yellow varieties exist.

How are they grown

Carrots grow best in full sun and prefer a moderate climate and regular watering. Carrots grow better from seeds but seedlings may also be used. Seeds start to germinate in three to seven days and shoots start emerging between one and three weeks after planting.

Where are they grown

All over Australia.

Variety

In Australia, carrots are not usually sold by variety. You can buy ‘baby’ carrots (usually harvested early) or ‘mature’, larger carrots.

One common type of carrot is the Dutch carrot. These are 5 to 8 cm long and sold in bunches with the leaves attached. Some of the other types of carrots include Imperitor, Nantes, Nantes-Berlicium. These are usually a reddish colour and are cylindrical to cigar-shaped. The new variety Kurodo (or Koyo) is shorter than the common type of carrot that is usually available in the supermarket.

How to know when they are ripe

When the tops of the roots obtain a diameter of 2-3.5 cm they can be considered ready for harvesting. A good watering a couple of hours prior to harvesting greatly facilitates lifting of the carrots. Young roots can be harvested in about 3 months.

Summer carrot crops can be ready for harvest in 16 weeks from sowing, while crops growing through the cooler winter months may grow for up to 24 weeks.

Seasonality

All year round.

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

June

Jul

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Carrots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weather impacts

High temperatures result in short thick roots.

Local market

Fresh and processed (frozen).

Storage

Storage life depends on storage temperature and humidity:

  • At 20°C and 60 to 70% relative humidity, carrots will keep for 2 to 3 days.
  • At 4°C and 80 to 90% relative humidity, carrots will keep for 1 to 2 months.
  • At 0°C and 90 to 95% relative humidity, carrots will keep for up to 6 months
  • The ideal conditions for best keeping quality are pre-cooling and storage at 0°C and 95 to 100% relative humidity.

Nutrition

Carrots have among the highest beta-carotene (provitamin A) level found in vegetables, which gives them the bright orange colour. B-carotene has antioxidant properties that help neutralise potentially health damaging free radicals. The deeper the carrot colour, generally the more carotene, which is broken down during digestion to vitamin A. Purple carrots contain anthocyanin, another antioxidant with health benefits.

Packaging

After harvest, the carrots are washed, brush polished, hydro-cooled, size and quality graded and packed into 10, 15 and 20 kilogram plastic bag-lined cardboard cartons or into 0.5 and 1 kilogram retail ready pre-pack bags.

Link for more information

AusVeg www.ausveg.com.au

 

References

Western Australia Department of Agriculture and Food https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/carrots/carrots-western-australia (January 2016)