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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 

Australian cherry crop sizes up well

Early forecasts point to solid national crop, with mainland growers sending directly to China via airfreight
As Australia’s early-season cherry harvest gets underway, hopes are high for a record crop.

Cherry Growers Australia president Tom Eastlake said all major production regions were cropping well, with growers on track to surpass the 16,000 tonne mark for the first time.

“The forecast at the moment depends on how bullish you want to be … we would have to be starting this year at a baseline of 20 per cent higher than 15,000 tonnes, so it will be about 18,000 tonnes," Eastlake told ABC News.

“Assuming we don't have any adverse weather events come through, I would be reasonably confident we hit that mark."

Cherry growers in New South Wales are optimistic about crop forecasts, despite the state being in the grips of drought.

Water storage in the key production hub surrounding the township of Young is down, but many don’t foresee this as a wholesale problem.

“It means we just have to manage our water supply well,” Fiona Hall, managing director of Caernarvon Cherry Co, told Asiafruit. “Good management will mean there will be no impact on the crop as we hope for more rain through early summer.”

The dry spell, coupled with a warm winter, resulted in a later blossom in New South Wales, which has seen a later start to harvest for some growers.

Further south in Victoria, growers are reporting an above average fruit set, although some areas were affected by an early frost at budbreak. This has been compensated by a better than average fruit set on other varieties.

Michael Rouget, managing director of Victorian-based grower-packer-exporter Koala Cherries, said he was expecting a “normal crop to slightly above average" on his orchards.

Cautious optimism for China

Having secured significant market access improvements in January this year, the upcoming 2018/19 campaign will see mainland cherry growers send fruit directly to China via airfreight for the first time. However, it will be with an eye on laying the foundations for what the industry hopes will develop into a lucrative market.

“It is a positive step forward. People are optimistic but cautious given this is new territory for mainland cherry producers in Australia,” Rouget said. “I think this season most growers will trial shipments through this pathway but do it cautiously.”

The new protocol with China requires all mainland cherries grown outside recognised pest free areas to undergo methyl bromide treatment prior to export.

Hugh Molloy of Antico International says an adherence to high-quality will be crucial when it comes to developing market share in China.

“There is specific and unique demand for Australian supply if we can deliver consistent high quality, firm, sweet fruit,” Molloy told Asiafruit. “If this is established over November and December, the sales draw should then flow on into the Tasmanian supply window, which this year is perfectly suited to and timed for the Chinese New Year gifting period.”

 

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

Author : Matthew Jones

Early Murcott Mandarin Variety Key to BGP’s Good Start in China

From September 5 to 8, the booth of BGP International, a Melbourne-based produce company, caught the eye of many attendees at Asia Fruit Logistica 2018 Hong Kong. Since its founding in 1992, BGP has strived to provide customers with high-quality fresh produce year-round through extensive cooperation with partners in Australia, the United States, Pakistan, India, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa, and New Zealand. Now, the company has also expanded operations to California, the Philippines, India, and Egypt. Produce Report interviewed Neil Barker, CEO of BGP, to explore how his company has done in China.

Citrus has been a key category for BGP, with the company’s annual citrus volume exceeding 40,000 metric tons. Relying on oranges, mandarins, and grapefruit from the world's leading production regions to develop the Chinese market has proven a sound strategy which pairs well with BGP's own strengths. The company’s strategy for China focuses on a special Murcott mandarin, the very early Murcott variety Royal Honey Murcott, which was discovered and patented by Ironbark Citrus, a producer of premium Australian mandarins in Queensland. This variety matures one month earlier than other Murcott mandarins and possesses a skin texture and taste profile which appeals to Chinese consumers.

As an appointed partner of Ironbark Citrus, BGP enjoys the privilege of being able to promote the variety in China before fierce market competition kicks in. "Until now, every year when the sales season kicks off for Royal Honey Murcott, demand is always two to three times greater than the volume available, so we have to restrict access to only a small number of specially-selected importers to better serve the market.” Neil continued however, noting that, "because we started with these early varieties, we are in a good position to go on with our later Murcott varieties."

For a first-hand account of this highly sought-after variety, Produce Report also spoke with Jing Huang, Assistant to CEO for Fruitday, a major Chinese fresh produce e-retailer, who confirmed the popularity of the Royal Honey Murcott in China. “This will be our fifth year marketing this variety on our platform. In addition to maturing early, Royal Honey Murcotts also boast a good appearance, excellent taste, high brix, and low acid content. As a result, it has been received well on Fruitday and is a perfect fit for the Chinese market.”

According to Neil, production of Royal Honey Murcotts is expected to double over the next 3 years and BGP will be working to continually increase market penetration for the variety in China.

Besides sourcing from Australia, BGP were also among the first companies to bring Chinese consumers mandarins, grapefruit, and lemons from Egypt. "We also expect some increases in these volumes in the years ahead. To achieve this goal, our grower partners in Egypt and South Africa are planting new farms with varieties specifically developed for the Chinese and Asian markets," Neil remarked. In addition to expanding the existing supply chain volumes, BGP is actively exploring new fruit varieties as well, such as avocadoes, nectarines, plums, and peaches, to further add value to its business in China.

BGP has been exporting premium Australian fruit to China since the early 2000s. Over the years, the company has developed into a crucial supplier to many upscale supermarkets, online retailers, and wholesalers in China. As one of the forerunners in marketing China-grown produce around the world, BGP has operated an office in China for a number of years to facilitate its exports of apples, citrus, garlic, and ginger to India, the EU, and other Asian markets. BGP was also involved in the early shipments of Ya pears (a famous type of pear native to northern China) to Australia.

Source: https://www.producereport.com 

 

 

Export demand soaring - Cherry growers expect largest Australian crop ever

Cherry producers across Australia are looking at a bumper season, and early crop forecasts suggest this year's crop will reach new highs, making it Australia's largest cherry crop in history. Consumers might see a higher supply than usual this year, but growers are setting their sights on increasing their export numbers considerably.

Cherry Growers Australia president Tom Eastlake said all production areas were recording a good crop, ranging from a light to heavy crop. The national record for the Australian cherry crop is about 15,000 tonnes.

"The forecast at the moment depends on how bullish you want to be … we would have to be starting this year at a baseline of 20 per cent higher than 15,000 tonnes, so it will be about 18,000 tonnes," Eastlake said. "Assuming we don't have any adverse weather events come through, I would be reasonably confident we hit that mark."

Riverland cherry grower Leon Cotsaris started harvesting early variety cherries at his orchard two weeks ago, and said growing conditions this year were great. "We had a fairly mild spring, which has been pretty good, although it's been very dry.”

He said fruit size and quality this year were good, but dependent on weather conditions in coming weeks.

Cherry Growers Association of South Australia president and Adelaide Hills grower Nick Noske said they had been expecting high yields last year, but many growers' crops were severely damaged by hail and rain.

Abc.net.au reports that despite a bumper crop, consumers might not see extreme price drops this season as growers look to export markets. Due to the reopening of the Vietnamese market and new market access to China last year, demand for Australian cherries is high.


Publication date : 11/6/2018

Source: www.freshplaza.com

Analysis of sudden price increase for Chinese fruit

As the seasonal market is changing, fresh fruit enters the market in large volumes. A quick look at this year's prices in comparison with last year shows that fruit prices greatly increased this year. One of the reasons for this development is quite obvious, the overall production volume decreased because of extreme weather conditions this year. However, looking at broader price developments shows that this price increase started much earlier than this year. The price of domestic fruit has been on the rise for several years now, and this is likely to be the prevailing trend in the future as well.

Well then, what are the reasons for this development?

Shrinking gap in product quality and product variety between domestic fruit and imported fruit
Imported fruit is not nearly as rare as it was on the market 10 years ago. As China opened the doors wide, more and more fruit importers have entered the Chinese market. The annual import volume of fruit continues to increase. In some situations the market even turned upside down, and imported fruit became a common sight. Under these circumstances, some consumers, suppliers, and plantation owners began to change their perception of domestic fruit:

First, various production areas in China have been importing fruit varieties from abroad for many years now, and this is particularly true for south China. Plantation owners experimented and adjusted until these fruit varieties performed well in Chinese production areas, and the fruit now produced in these areas is virtually indistinguishable from imported fruit, whether it is in terms of flavor or other characteristics.

Second, China continues to upgrade and innovate plantation technology and equipment in the agricultural industry. Plantation owners often apply glasshouse and greenhouse technology, and experiment with growing environments developed in agricultural production areas abroad. This also guarantees increased product quality for fruit produced in China.

Third, steady economic growth in China means that overall living standards have increased in recent years. Consumers enjoy higher average incomes and are able to spend more on food products. Consumers in China have begun to change their consumption pattern from quantity to quality. Farmers and fruit traders only have to improve the product quality of their fruit, and consumers are eager to pay extra. The proportion of top-quality fruit is still relatively small in the current fruit market. Increased consumer demand for top-quality fruit will eventually increase market prices.


Publication date : 11/2/2018

Source: www.freshplaza.com 

New Zealand is beating Australia regarding Pacific work force

Both New Zealand and Australia want to attract tourist fruit pickers [‘backpackers’] and seasonal workers from around the Pacific. However, latterly the numbers are becoming somewhat skewered. For every 1,000 backpackers picking fruit and vegetables in New Zealand, there are about 3,000 seasonal workers from the Pacific. In Australia, the mix is different: for every 1,000 backpackers there are only about 250 Pacific seasonal workers.

The Australian outcome is what the research literature predicts: employers preferring the more flexible, much less regulated backpacker. It’s less hassle, and as recent media and academic research has shown, easier to get away with underpaying backpackers, where no government approval or reporting is required, than with seasonal workers, where stringent approval and reporting requirements are imposed.

How then to explain New Zealand’s contrary performance? There seem to be five factors which explain why New Zealand’s 2007 seasonal worker scheme (called the RSE or Recognised Seasonal Employer) has been much more popular than Australia’s 2009 Seasonal Worker Program (SWP).

First, New Zealand’s horticultural sector has a much stronger export orientation. As a result, the sector is more focused on quality and compliance, as stories of worker exploitation risk the loss of export markets. In contrast, Australian farmers are producing mainly for the domestic market, with little external scrutiny of workplace conditions and employee rights. They are focused primarily on costs rather than reputation.

Second, collective action is easier in New Zealand. New Zealand’s horticultural sector is much better organised than in Australia, and has a single peak body. It played a leading role in developing the RSE, and employs someone to promote it.

Third, the costs of regulatory compliance are also lower in New Zealand. Australia’s minimum wage is significantly higher than New Zealand’s, which creates a stronger incentive to avoid it.

Australia also has a weaker enforcement regime, making it less likely that you’ll be caught if you cheat. This is again due to the tyranny of size, but also because Australia has put less effort into developing a licensing regime for labour hire companies. This situation is now changing, which explains the growth of the SWP in recent years (as noted below).

Fourth, while Australia’s and New Zealand’s backpacker and seasonal worker schemes are very similar, there are subtle differences in their design, history and implementation, which have made a difference.

New Zealand introduced the RSE in 2007. At the time, Australia wasn’t prepared to follow suit. Instead, in response to farmers’ complaints about labour shortages, it introduced the second-year backpacker visa to funnel backpackers into agriculture in their first year with the offer of a second-year visa.

Finally, there is the simple fact that Australia simply attracts far more backpackers than New Zealand, making the potential pool of backpacker farm labour that much larger. In the 2017-18 financial year, Australia had 210,000 backpackers while New Zealand had only 70,000.

Source: asiancorrespondent.com via http://www.freshplaza.com


Publication date : 11/2/2018

A stable market for traditional persimmons

A stable market for the Tipo persimmons in this ongoing campaign. The OP Granfrutta Zani markets 2000 tons. The marketing manager Raffaele Bucella discussed these factors.

“The harvesting of the Tipo persimmon is about to end. The campaign started extremely well. Then, it slightly slowed down due to the unusual temperatures. The off-season heat during October caused many problems both in terms of ripening and marketing. Yet, now it is recovering”.

Granfrutta Zani places persimmons mostly on the Italian MMR. Furthermore, the company exports to the two countries with the highest traditional persimmon consumption, that is Switzerland and Australia. Spain is exporting its tough pulp produce to Germany for instance.

Bucella, “We also have a few hundred tons of the tough pulp variety, which is the most appreciated by younger generations because of the ease of consumption. If everything goes according to plan, the marketing of persimmons will continue until halfway through December”.

With regard to prices, Bucella: “Persimmons usually do not change prices within a short time frame. Even though Spain has less produce than usual, prices will not increase. I think that this will be a stable campaign. I believe that sales will fall under the range expected by our producers”.

Info:
OP Granfrutta Zani
Via Monte Sant'Andrea
48018 Granarolo Faentino (RA)
Tel.: (+39) 0546 695211
Fax: (+39) 0546 41775
Email: buc@granfruttazani.it
Web: www.granfruttazani.it via www.freshplaza.com


Publication date : 11/1/2018

Australia ratifies CPTPP

Joining five other nations, Australia’s commitment has triggered a 60-day countdown to tariff reductions
On 31 October, Australia became the sixth country to ratify its position in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11, and also known as the CPTPP).

Joining Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and Singapore in the first group to ratify the agreement means a majority sign-on triggers a 60-day countdown to the first round of tariff cuts.

The first tariff cuts under the agreement will enter into force on 30 December 2018. A second reduction will occur three days later on 1 January 2019.

For Australia, tariff reductions to Mexico are expected to benefit the horticulture sector, and the broader agriculture industry will see improved access.

Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, and Vietnam are also part of the agreement, but are yet to ratify their positions.

ExportNZ executive director Catherine Beard is pleased by the ratification and looming tariff reductions.

"CPTPP brings Japan, Canada and Mexico into a trade deal with New Zealand for the first time. These countries have large markets that will now become progressively open to New Zealand goods and services, improving New Zealand’s trade earnings,” she said.

"Other country members of CPTPP will now also offer terms of trade more favourable to New Zealand exports.”

The New Zealand government expects items like buttercup squash into Japan to become tariff-free; onions to Japan to have tariffs removed within the next six years; and tariffs in other countries to be eliminated on a number of items like cherries, radish, carrot seed, kiwifruit, and avocado.

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

PMA Research: Impact of Chinese Tariffs applied to US Fresh Fruit Exports

Overview of Chinese Tariffs


The People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) on March 23, 2018 announced a proposal to levy retaliatory tariffs impacting approximately $2.0 billion in U.S. food and agricultural exports to China in response to the recent U.S. 232 Trade Action on steel and aluminum.

Additional tariffs of 15 percent would be applied to exports of fruits, dried fruits and nuts (among other products) from the U.S. in retaliation for tariffs introduced by the United States. Chinese customs began levying these additional tariffs April 2, 2018.

 

Read the rest of the article here