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

Latest News

Mango industry remains on track for bumper season

Despite the high volumes of mangoes being dispatched to market, the season will not run any longer than usual according to the Australian Mango Industry Association (AMIA).

Seasons have already wrapped up in the north of Western Australia and the Northern Territory, with Queensland, New South Wales and southern regions of Western Australia still harvesting. The industry representative body's CEO Robert Gray says volume has consistently exceeded forecasts all the way along.

"It started in Darwin, then Katherine, Mataranka and it’s flowed on to Queensland in Bowen, Burdekin and now Mareeba," he said. "They are all up by about 15 to 20 per cent on what they initially forecast. That trend is continuing and we are expecting that to continue again in Southern Queensland. I don't think it is going to go any longer. We certainly started earlier but all the forecast finish dates are the same. So pretty much by the end of February the bulk of the crop will be gone, but there will be small volumes out of Southern Western Australia (Gingin), South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria into March. But it won't be any longer than last year."

He says a number of conditions have contributed to the increase in volume, particularly the trees getting older and good flowering, as well as the weather.

"We have seen Calypso and Honey Gold varieties maturing and they’ve had a big increase in supply," Mr Gray said. "There have been very favourable growing conditions, so people have got better yields and sizing on their fruit than what they have had in previous years."

There was concern earlier this year over the Bowen/Burdekin region after Cyclone Debbie caused major damage across farming properties. Mr Gray says it is a big 'relief' for the industry as a whole to see a good volume of fruit coming out of that region.

"In some instances, one side of the trees were very damaged," he said. "Farmers were gearing up for, at best, half a crop. But the trees have responded really well, and not only made up for what they may have lost, but in some cases growers have had more volume than expected. Then you add that to the younger trees coming in, that's what gave them their increase in the Bowen region. The growers have really ridden a rollercoaster from May until now—expecting little but ending up with a reasonable crop."

But all eyes will now be on the southern areas of the state, with some individual reports of lower crops than previous years due to the warmer winter weather, followed by several heavy rain events across November and December. Despite this, the AMIA says there is not expected to be any major effects to overall figures.

"They did get a lot of rain pre-Christmas, but we have some pretty favourable growing conditions since then," Mr Gray said. "It's really this month up to and including harvest that has a big impact on final fruit quality and whether they have to downgrade fruit. But at this stage it's looking promising in Southern Queensland."

The AMIA says there is still potential for counter seasonal crops in the southern states, despite major Victorian produce company Seven Fields suffering major damage due to frosts.

"There is always a need to manage frosts in those late dry areas," Mr Gray said. "My understanding is there is a range of measures that people are trying in that part of the world; from fully covered cropping where the whole orchard is covered in netting, helping to keep the temperatures from freezing. To selected sites that are a little higher, with better drainage to minimise frost, and people are even using wind fans. They certainly have the capacity for late flowering but the issue is keeping trees alive."

Mr Gray noted the Gingin area in Western Australia produces fruit later, but that it is close enough to the coast to escape the frost, and has potential to extend the season in future years.

For more information:

Robert Gray
Australian Mango Industry Association
Phone: +61 7 3278 3755

Publication date: 1/10/2018
Author: Matthew Russell
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com

China: Quality Supervision Office and Australian authorities renew mutual cooperation agreement for fruit import

The Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine will soon have discussions individually with the New Zealand Department for Primary Industries, the Australian Department for Agriculture, and the Department for Irrigation. They will sign the following agreements:

"The agreement concerning the plant quarantine requirements for fresh avocado transport from New Zealand to China."

"An agreement concerning the plant quarantine requirements for stone fruit (nectarine, peach, plum, apricot) transport from China to Australia."

"An agreement concerning the plant quarantine requirements for stone fruit (nectarine, peach, plum, apricot) transport from Australia to China"

Apart from this, the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision and the Australian Departments of Agriculture and Irrigation will also review the conditions of the execution of agreements on Chinese apple and pear exports to Australia, and of Australian grape, cherry, and citrus export to China. This is in order to optimize the adjustment of quarantine requirements on both sides. They will further renew the following agreements:

"Agreement concerning the plant quarantine requirements for apple transport from China to Australia."

"Agreement concerning the plant quarantine requirements for pear transport from China to Australia."

"Agreement concerning the plant quarantine requirements for fresh grape transport from Australia to China."

"Agreement concerning the plant quarantine requirements for cherry transport from Australia to China."

"Agreement concerning the plant quarantine requirements for citrus transport from Australia to China."

Signing these agreements will accelerate Australian exports to China, and will also provide Chinese consumers with more choice of Australian seasonal fruits. Furthermore, it encourages agricultural trade in both countries.

Source: Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine via www.freshplaza.com 

Publication date: 1/8/2018

North Queensland Manbulloo Mangoes Set Sail for Asia from Townsville

3,250 cartons of Manbulloo mangoes grown in North Queensland set sail for Asia today from the Port of Townsville in refrigerated containers on Mariana Express Lines’ Kota Nasrat container vessel.

Manbulloo’s Quality and Export Manager Scott Ledger said that the export shipment was a great milestone for the business.

“Our team have been very busy heat-treating and packing mangoes over the past week at Manbulloo’s facility in Giru ready for export,” said Mr Ledger.

“Packing the mangoes directly into the refrigerated container at the packhouse, then exporting out of the Port of Townsville, means there is less physical handling of mangoes and the time in the supply chain is shorter, giving us greater control and confidence to deliver high quality mangoes to our customers,” he said.

The mangoes undergo vapour heat treatment at Manbulloo’s facility for control of fruit fly, which is a requirement for export to China, South Korea and Japan.

“Other strict quarantine requirements must be followed including registration of the mango orchards for export, completion of a phytosanitary inspection of the packed mangoes and supervision of the loading of the container by a government Authorised Officer.”

To provide extra storage life, the atmosphere inside the containers is modified using the MAXtend system supplied by Mitsubishi Australia.

“The packhouse is only 50 minutes by road to the Port of Townsville where Northern Stevedoring Services (NSS) arrange all the logistics for us,” he said.

“Controlled atmosphere sea freight is cheaper than sending mangoes via air to overseas markets, which will help Manbulloo to capture the opportunity to expand exports to Asia.”

The R2E2 mangoes are supplied from Manbulloo’s four orchards in North Queensland and two local growers are supporting the export program, Tony and Naomi Holloway from Jade orchard at Giru and Dale and Cheryl Williams from Euri Gold orchard at Bowen.

Mariana Express Lines Line Manager Lilian Auvaa said it was an extremely proud moment for the company.

“Our first direct Townsville to Asia container service started back in 2009 carrying mainly dry cargo both import and export”, said Ms Auvaa.

“We recognise the significance of a reliable supply chain solution that will provide our valued partners with an opportunity to move their refrigerated products to Asia direct by sea”, she said.

Pacific Asia Express (PAE), the Australian agency for MELL, has been instrumental in bringing together the key stakeholders to develop an end-to-end transport solution that has led to this first ever direct sea shipment of mangos from Townsville.

PAE’s Senior Commercial Director Greg Mawer said this it was an exciting time for Townsville and the future potential for export of mangos in refrigerated containers.

“We ship export perishable goods from all over the country and to bring our expertise to the region to work with Manbulloo and key stakeholders is what we are about,” he said.

Port of Townsville Acting Chief Executive Officer Claudia Brumme-Smith congratulated the many stakeholders in the supply chain on their efforts to make the mango shipment a reality.

“Mariana Express Lines, NSS and North Queensland Customs have put a lot of effort into this shipment for Manbulloo to get the right refrigerated containers for their cargo, said Ms Brumme-Smith.

“I’m delighted to know that mangoes grown in our region will be ready for sale in Asia for the festive season.”

Manbulloo is Australia’s largest grower of Australia’s favourite mango variety Kensington Pride, also known as the “Bowen Mango” and the R2E2 variety which Asian consumers love for its large size and beautiful blush colour.


Manbulloo: Scott Ledger - 0419 725 181
Mariana Express Lines: Lilian Auvaa – 0434 514 188
Port of Townsville: Sharon Hoops – 07 4781 1551

Australian pome fruit promoted in Dubai

There was excellent promotion of Australian apples and pears at the ‘Taste Australia’ stand at the Middle East’s leading fresh produce trade event – World of Perishables – held in Dubai, from 5 to 7 December.

Promoting Australian apples and pears: APAL’s Andrew Mandemaker at the ‘Taste Australia’ stand at World of Perishables, Dubai, UAE.

‘Taste Australia’ is an initiative of Hort Innovation, focused on in-market export activity to help promote premium Australian produce in current and future markets. It is part of a broader trade push by Hort Innovation to significantly grow Australian horticultural exports by 2025.

Attending the event was APAL’s Quality Project Manager Andrew Mandemaker who represented industry and helped promote Australian apples and pears at the event to importers, traders and supermarkets from the Middle East.

“Export opportunities exist in these new markets, especially for premium quality branded apples and pears,” said Mandemaker.

According to APAL, they are committed to promoting exports of apples and pears in new markets like the Middle East, a strategy in line with the Apple & Pear Industry Export Development Strategy released in August this year.

Publication date: 12/14/2017

Source: www.freshplaza.com 

Records tumble for Australian citrus

New benchmark set in September, with three months of export figures still to be counted

Australian citrus suppliers don’t have to wait for the final figures to declare 2017 their best season on record.

More than 221,000 tonnes of fruit had been exported at the end of September, generating some A$377m in sales.

Given that citrus exports for the entire 2016 season were 220,000 tonnes at A$328.4m, it has already been another record breaking campaign in the export arena, and it’s not done yet.

“With three months still unaccounted for, and with predictions of substantial exports of Valencia oranges in the last quarter of the year, we expect to well and truly break the A$400m mark this season, edging us closer to our goal of half a billion dollars,” says Citrus Australia’s market access manager David Daniels.

Based on the September data, orange exports were up 12 per cent year-on-year at 152,153 tonnes, while mandarin exports were up 38 per cent to 64,755 tonnes.

Other citrus categories (grapefruit, lemons and limes) made up just under two per cent of total exports at 3,846 tonnes.

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

BerryQuest conference set for Tasmania in early 2018

Three peak industry bodies representing Australian berry producers are working together once again to roll out a highly anticipated conference of industry experts from across the country and abroad.

Strawberries Australia, Australian Blueberry Growers Association and Raspberries and Blackberries Australia will proudly host BerryQuest International 2018 at the Country Club Launceston from Feb. 12-15.

The event will bring together berry growers, industry related businesses and researchers from around Australia and the world for three days of conference activity.

Conference highlights will include:

A broad range of topics covered in plenary and breakout sessions which will provide growers with the latest information to help further develop both farming and business practices.
Many of the topics have been selected by a panel of growers who have focussed on the issues that will be pertinent to the berry industry as it expands over the next 5 to 10 years.
A number of conference speakers will be farmers, with berry growers from across the country willing to share their experience in a range of topics.
A large trade exhibition with 28+ booths will also be open for two and a half days of the conference.
BerryQuest International 2018 will expose delegates to the latest innovations across a wide range of areas including innovation in growing techniques, research, pest and disease management, breeding, export development, labour, marketing and retailer/consumer trends.

Simon Dornauf, conference committee chair for BerryQuest International 2018 says that the conference will also provide excellent business opportunities between growers, their allied trade and interested parties.

“The opportunities to share information and network presented by the Conference are extraordinary. Berry producers will be able to speak to and hear from suppliers about the latest innovations and technology at the dedicated Trade Exhibition, and the social events being held are where much of the ‘real business’ is done”.

Launceston has been selected as the host city due to its close proximity to berry growing areas where strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries will all be in season. Attendees will have the opportunity to see production first hand by participating in one of the organised farm tours on the final day of the conference.

With a combined value of around AUD$850 million dollars per annum, the Australia Berry Industry has now become one of the largest sectors within horticulture. It is estimated that more than 20,000 people are employed directly in the berry industry, with most of the industries expanding each year.

Registration to attend is now open and sponsorship/ exhibitor opportunities are still available. Visit www.berryquest.com.au for more information.


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

Fruit exporters in a pickle over VICT picket

CONSIGNMENTS of apples and pears are among the cargo consignments held up at Webb Dock as a consequence of a picket.

The picket has been in place for two weeks and has forced a halt to operations at the nation’s newest and most modern box terminal.

Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association chief executive, Dominic Jenkin, said some members had containers of Indonesia-bound pears stuck at the docks with a value of about $45,000 per container.

Even though the containers are chilled preventing the fruit from deteriorating rapidly, Mr Jenkins said there still would be a price to pay.

“The reality is fruit destined for Indonesia had at least a week and a half on the water anyway.

“So, if they had been allowed to depart they probably would only be arriving in port about now,” he said. “I wouldn’t imagine they would have their quality downgraded as of now but what may have happened is the shelf life would have been reduced to the point where they cannot be exported.

“That would see their value downgraded if they were then released onto the domestic market.”

Mr Jenkin said releasing additional volumes onto the domestic market would suppress pricing across the board.

“The other (issue) is these items would have been purchased by an importer who will have had a structured supply program into retail over in these export markets.

“They see themselves being put in a situation where they can’t fulfil their commitments,” he said.

Indonesian importers would look to substitute product from other parts of the world, notably South Africa, a country with lower production costs.

“That offers a market opportunity for our global competitors to move in on our markets,” Mr Jenkins said.

A VICT spokesman told DCN the picket remained in place and the company was seeking further injunctions against picketers.

The Supreme Court hearing is to be held at 3pm Monday.

Source: http://www.thedcn.com.au - Daily Cargo News

Author: David Sexton 

Date: 11th Dec 2017


Fruit shipments left stranded as port dispute enters second week

Hundreds of containers have been stranded for more than a week at the Port of Melbourne, smh.com.au reports. Containers carrying fruit, frozen prawns, grain, milk products, toys, Christmas decorations and machine parts are going nowhere due to an industrial dispute at the nation's busiest port.

Joe Tullio, managing director of Australia Fruits fears his shipment of $45,000 in Victorian pears will see a total loss. He tells that the shipment has already been stranded at the port for over 10 days.

The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the Maritime Union of Australia to lift the picket but it has continued as a "community protest" with support from other unions.

Victoria International Container Terminal, which runs the first fully automated terminal in the country, has become the latest employer to face the trade unions. The issues are perceived substandard wage agreements and violations of workplace rights.

Mr Dominic Jenkin, chief executive officer of the Australian Horticultural Exporters' Association said he knew of several other containers of fresh produce being held up on the dock for more than 10 days.

Publication date: 12/8/2017

Source: www.freshplaza.com 

Australian stone fruit on track for strong volume despite recent weather

Recent weather events in the major stone fruit growing regions, have not affected the optimism of the industry nationally, with volumes still on track to be higher than in the previous year.

Andrew Finlay is a grower at Pikes Creek Orchard near Stanthorpe in Queensland and also Chairman of Summerfruit Australia and he says the outlook for this year is looking really good, especially in his part of the country.

"Growing conditions have been good – significantly better than last year, it’s almost like a different country," he said. "There will be plenty of options and varieties for consumers to enjoy, with strong brix levels – in Queensland, we’re seeing 16.5 – 19.5 brix, so the sweetness should be up there. There are plenty of varieties still to come, so we’re looking forward to a strong season."

He says the major growing regions in southern Australia, have also experienced positive conditions throughout winter, leading into the season, despite some scattered hail and frost. While some parts of northern Victoria and southern New South Wales received more than 200 millimetres of rain last weekend, which is set to have a impact on yield for those growers.

Mr Finlay's orchard in South East Queensland grows early season fruit, harvesting from the middle of October, with a focus on nectarines and peaches. He has nectarine varieties such as Honey May and May Bright, and peach varieties such as Snow Angel and May Princess. That's in addition to plum varieties like Black Diamond, Black Ruby and Ebony Treat, which are harvested at the start of November, and are focused on the domestic market, with only a small amount of export plums.

"The varieties we choose work well for our region," Mr Finlay said. "Thanks to strong demand, our operations are expanding year on year. Asia as a region is an important focus for Australian Horticulture. There is significant opportunity to build markets given Australian products are known for being premium, high value and nutritious."

He says demand for Australian stone fruit is getting stronger, thanks to exciting new varieties that are coming into the market each season.

"As more varieties arrive, they’ll help to increase demand" Mr Finlay said. "We know we need to make sure the fruit we deliver to market is consistent, which is also a key driver for demand."

Mr Finlay believes this is a really exciting time for the industry, particularly with the opening of the market into China for plums, peaches and apricots, after nectarines gained access last season. He adds it will mean greater management of the supply and can better support the supply/demand balance here in Australia.

"For myself, I’ve got some varieties with high brix levels that I think will go very well in the Chinese market," he said. "They’re sweet and a good size which is a requirement in China, they are also perfect for snacking. Through the Hort Innovation Taste Australia initiative, we are working closely with export markets on consumer education to assist with their experience at a store level to help cement stone fruit as a great option for summer."

More than 100,000 tonnes of stone fruit is produced each year by more than 1,200 farmers Australia wide across the 26 growing regions. However, Mr Finlay says it is not just the quantity, but the improvement in quality this year that has made this year’s crop sweeter, which should improve even further as the season progresses.

“We know Aussies love stone fruit, it’s a nostalgic reminder of warm summer days with family and friends," he said. "Consumers can enjoy the fruit from now, through the festive season and well into the new year. I love nothing more than tucking into a peach or nectarine fresh off the tree as a snack, or slicing them and adding to a summer salad – it gives a lovely texture and tastes delicious. Make sure the fruit smells sweet, gives a little under pressure when squeezed, with no soft spots or blemishes. Once you get them home, if they’re not quite ripe, let them sit at room temperature. Only put them in the fridge once they’re ripe, as the cold stops the ripening process.”

For more information and serving ideas visit the Facebook Page: facebook.com/AustraliaSummerStonefruit/

Andrew Finlay
Pikes Creek Orchard
+61 7 4685 6171

Publication date: 12/8/2017
Author: Matthew Russell
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com

Container ships diverted away from Melbourne amid blockade

Container ships have reportedly been left stranded outside the Australian Port of Melbourne due to a union-backed blockade, ABC reported.

Some 50 workers from the Maritime Union of Australia have gone on strike and shut down the Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) over the alleged treatment of one of its members, according to the story.

The dispute has been ongoing for 10 days and has forced perishable cargo to be diverted to Adelaide and then taken by road more than 700km (450 miles) to Melbourne.

Victorian Transport Association head Peter Anderson was quoted as saying: “There are goods coming directly into the shelves, there are goods being bought left right and center.”

“Unfortunately the supply chain will be disrupted by this action,” he said.

The conflict between the union and the VICT came to a head when an audit revealed that 22 workers did not have a Maritime Security Identification card, which lets workers into secure areas.

According to the union, the one worker who had taken the company to Fair Work had his employment terminated.

Source: www.freshfruitportal.com 

Aussie award for export ace Minnis

Horticulture leader David Minnis wins University of Queensland’s Gatton Gold Medal for “outstanding contribution”

Industry stalwart David Minnis, whose more than 50-year career has focused on the export of high-quality Australian fruit and vegetables and improving access to international markets, was honoured with the University of Queensland’s (UQ) 2017 Gatton Gold Medal this week.

Minnis accepted the award at the graduation ceremony for the university’s School of Agriculture and Food Sciences at UQ Gatton on Thursday (7 December).

UQ Dean of Science and Associate Dean for Research Professor Ian Gentle said the award was made each year to a UQ graduate who had made an outstanding contribution in their field.

“We are delighted that in UQ Gatton’s 120th year, David is recognised for his leadership in scientific, post-harvest innovations and developing export markets for Australia,” Gentle said.

“Only last month, the Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Hoj announced a new Centre for Horticulture Science will be launched at UQ.

“Horticulture is one of the largest and most diverse industries in Australian agriculture, accounting for 18 per cent of its total value.”

Fruitful career

Minnis, now 74, began his career in research and built up a wealth of knowledge on quarantine, biosecurity, market access and international trade. He has worked in the public and private sector and has provided technical and policy advice to both government and industry.

Having earned a Diploma in Horticulture from the Queensland Agricultural College (now UQ Gatton) in 1963, he went on to obtain Bachelors and Masters degrees in horiculture at Lincoln College, New Zealand.

Minnis has held senior roles in Australian horticultural research and exporting organisations, including Austrade, the Australian Horticultural Exporters Association and the Australian Horticultural Research and Development Corporation.

After joining the Victorian Department of Agriculture, he was seconded to the Department of Primary Industries in Canberra in 1978, when Minnis spent time in the UK and Europe reporting on the arrival condition of Australian fruit and vegetable exports. He was again seconded to the commonwealth in 1984 and stationed in SIngapore to report on the outturn of Australian produce and provide market intelligence covering a range of countries in South East Asia and North Asia.

In 1993, Minnis established his own Australian export company, 888 Exports, which he now runs with son Byron, exporting more than A$10m worth of fresh produce a year.

“My scientific background has been very helpful and much of my career has also centred on gaining Australian access to closed or restricted international horticultural markets,” said Minnis.

“It’s important that Australia does export to improve profitability as we have a small population and would otherwise be in an oversupply situation.”

Practical purpose

Reflecting on his own Diploma in Horticulture, Minnis told Fruitnet the course had a highly practical dimension that was of great value to his career in the fresh produce business.

“We ploughed the fields, planted vegetable crops, mechanically harvested potatoes, picked citrus fruit and grew plants in glasshouses. We experienced the full range of the seasons at Gatton – you need to do that,” he said. “If you’re studying ag or hort science today, it’s fine to be in the CBD lab but you need to be out in rural areas looking at things.”

In his acceptance speech, Minnis said the good news for today’s graduates is that funding for R&D with Horticulture Innovation Australia under the commonwealth system of matching grower levies has grown to A$84.5m in 2016/17, with a further A$19.3m allocated to promotion and marketing.

“Almost A$104m was invested in the horticulture industry last year with 32 industries paying statutory levies,” he said. “These funds are allocated to projects universities, government agencies and private enterprises can tender for.”

Minnis’s expertise and international standing in the horticulture field have previously been recognised with an Order of Australia Medal, and with award from the Australian Horticultural Exporters Association and Horticulture Australia.

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com Author: John Hay

Image source: http://www.fruitnet.com