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


Certified seed potatoes from South Australia and Victoria have been approved for market access to our nearest neighbour, Indonesia, at recent bilateral trade discussions held in Melbourne.

Market access to Indonesia enables certified seed potato growers in South Australia and Victoria to supply the Indonesian market with potentially 85,000 tonnes of certified seed potatoes with a market value of $AUD110m annually.

The agreement signed by Australia and Indonesia is the result of a near decade long collaboration between industry groups (ViCSPA, Potatoes South Australia), certified seed potato growers, exporters, state and federal governments and Indonesian agencies. The result is a win for certified seed potato growers and is a demonstration of what can be achieved when strong relationships and collaboration is built between industry and government, at all levels.

The Seed Certification Scheme operated by ViCSPA provides complete traceability and documented evidence which supports the high health status of certified seed potatoes produced in South Australia and Victoria. The ViCSPA Seed Certification Scheme is on par with the world’s best and the ViCSPA Board has invested heavily in developing robust database management systems which underpin the certification scheme to trace all seed plots submitted for certification.

The robustness of the ViCSPA seed certification scheme has been integral to this pursuit and subsequent success of new markets such as Indonesia. The ViCSPA scheme has highly trained certification officers for crop inspections and uses modern crop monitoring systems to certify seed potato crops. Indonesian officials audited both the ViCSPA seed scheme and the seed production areas. It is gratifying that they were impressed with the comprehensiveness and professionalism of the ViCSPA Seed Certification Scheme and the quality of the seed potatoes that are the result of the strict protocols adhered to.

The Chair of ViCSPA, Kay Spierings said, “ViCSPA is delighted that as an independent, industry based organisation, ViCSPA continues to be recognised as a leader in seed potato certification. The export potential of the Indonesian market is significant and we look forward continuing our strong collaborative relationships to build further opportunities for our growers.” Dr Nigel Crump, General Manager, ViCSPA said, “On the back of the recent success, ViCSPA will continue to strive for excellence in our seed certification program to maintain existing markets and pursue new markets. Recently, with a grant from Agriculture Victoria, we have developed a geospatial software tool that has been integrated with the existing seed potato certification database”.

“Importantly, the collection of geospatial data that relates to the field used to produce seed potato crops enhances the evidence of data that is required to support market access and subsequent trade”, he added.

For ViCSPA, the long history of soil sampling and laboratory testing all fields used to produce certified seed for pests and disease such as Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) and the ongoing leaf testing program for monitoring levels of Potato Virus Y were critical in securing market access to Indonesia. Surveillance of this type provides strong evidence to support claims made on the supply of high health certified seed potatoes.

Robbie Davis, CEO Potatoes South Australia stated that the industry was thrilled at this long-awaited protocol and that it provided a valuable new market. She said, “Of critical significance, the high quality of seed potatoes and professional approach by seed potato growers in South Australia and Victoria were major contributing factors in securing the trade. Strong collaboration has been key.”

It is envisaged that there will be an ongoing exchange of knowledge and capacity building between Australia and Indonesia and plans are already underway for ViCSPA to run pest and disease workshops in Indonesia later this year. It is important that the Indonesian and Australian potato industries work together into the future to continue to foster ‘business-to-business’ trade and improve potato production in both countries.

For for information:
Dr Nigel Crump (ViCSPA)
Tel: +44 3 5962 0000

Publication date: 3/7/2018


It's still too early to assess the damage, but the Latina area was hit quite hard after the frost of 2017. The situation is worrying in Emilia-Romagna as well, while Piedmont and Veneto seem to be doing better. Luckily temperatures under plastic films have remained higher.

Giampaolo Dal Pane, President of Consorzio Dorì Europe, stresses that "it's essential to cover crops with anti-rain nets. It's better to have a couple of hectares less but to cover the rest. On 28th February, the temperature in cover-less crops in a Latina company dropped to -7.5°C, while that in a covered one only reached -4°C. The same happened in Romagna: -10°C outside and -6°C under nets."

"We'll need to make an assessment, but things are not looking good. The frost may have damaged bark as well, making it easier for the Psa bacteria to penetrate."

There is no great difference between the sensitivity to frost of green and yellow varieties, except for the fact that yellow kiwis are usually earlier. Latina hadn't seen such low temperatures for decades. An 8-hectare orchard in Aprilia was destroyed as the supporting structure of the nets collapsed under the weight of the snow.

In the Ravenna province, the temperature dropped to -10°C. Some left their fans on all night long, but it's still unsure whether they work with such a widespread cold front.

And it's useless mentioning insurances, as they don't cover this period.

Publication date: 3/5/2018



A reliance on imports coupled with a weak currency has been a big factor in declining fruit consumption, says leading industry figure
japanese fruit consumption has been steadily declining over the past decade, and one of the country's leading industry figures says rising costs are contributing to the decline.

“Since the Generation Y segment of the population is always on the go, they want the convenience of pre-packaged and/or easy to eat fruit; however, cost still remains the primary concern,” said Jack Moriya, president of major importer and wholesaler Tokyo Seika and head of the Japan Fresh Fruit Importers Association.

“The younger generation has a propensity to choose the convenience of juices, and smoothies which has become great competition for fresh fruit.”

Changing behaviour among both younger and older generations is a factor in the decline, he said, but figures indicate there are more significant economic factors at play.

Data from Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications shows a direct correlation with increased expenditure, meaning an increased cost of fresh fruit.

Ultimately though, fluctuations in worldwide supply and demand has increased pricing of fresh produce, and it’s putting off Japanese consumers.

“The weak Japanese yen makes imported fruit more expensive than ever before,” Moriya explained.

“Also, a factor is that (with few exceptions), many fresh fruits are considered a luxury item in Japan. And with the high cost, consumption in Japan is extremely low compared to other advanced countries such as the US, and many European countries.”

Price inflation contributes to the perception that fruit is an indulgence, not a necessity. Although household expenditure of fruit has remained relatively stable over the past decade, the increasing costs mean volumes are decreasing as a result.

In 2008, the average Japanese household spent around ¥36,118 (US$340) on fresh fruit. In 2017 the figure was at ¥36,052 (US$340) with a variation of around ¥2,500 (US$23) in the years between.

Comparatively, the volume of fruit consumed in 2008 was 89.47kg versus 75.05kg in 2017.

Bananas still continue to be the favourite fruit of Japanese consumers, maintaining stability throughout the past decade, despite a slight slump. Gaining swift popularity, kiwifruit have seen a significant increase in both expenditure and consumption.

Moriya believes there is a solution to this ongoing decline of fruit consumption in Japan.

“[It’s] simple, much lower fruit prices.”


Author: Camellia Aebischer


The Qatar Ministry of Public Health has warned against consumption of sweet melon imported from New Zealand and Australia as the fruit is suspected to be contaminated with listeria bacteria.

In Australia, growers and retailers met in “crisis talks” last week as Australian public health authorities urged consumers to throw away sweet melons because of an ongoing Listeria outbreak.

Two people have died in Australia, where the outbreak is linked to a grower in Nericon, New South Wales. Ten people across three states are known to have been infected, including the two who died.

In Qatar itself, according to, it was found that a limited quantity of the suspected fruit was distributed at some outlets on Thursday. The fruit has been withdrawn from the shelves.

The ministry seized the fruit with help of suppliers and outlets. Samples have been taken for laboratory test. The ministry has urged the consumers to return the fruit; if it is consumed and there are any of the following symptoms: high temperature, indigestion or vomiting, consumers should visit a health centre.

Publication date: 3/5/2018


The Ministry of Public Health in Doha announced that the analyses of Australian rock melons, which were previously withdrawn from the market, showed that the fruit is free of listeria and any other types of bacteria such as salmonella and escherichia coli.

After receiving a notification that Australian rock melons might be contaminated with listeria, the Ministry detained the next shipment. It has also taken precautionary measures to prevent importing new shipments of rock melons suspected of being unsafe.

According to, the Ministry has stated that it is working with all other stakeholders to ensure the highest standards of food safety are implemented.

Publication date: 3/6/2018









Australia has reviewed the cultivation, processing and packaging of longans in Vietnam, and they look tasty, so they may grant an import license for the fruit next year. So after lychees, mangoes and dragon fruit, longans could be Vietnam’s fourth fruit to gain access to the Australian market, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Last month, a team from Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources visited Vietnam to review and assess the plantation, processing and packaging of longans in the provinces of Ben Tre and Hung Yen, the country’s biggest producers. And the team said Vietnamese longans may be licensed to enter its market from 2019.

Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources will make an assessment and draw up a draft regulation for imports of the fruit. Vietnam's total fruit and vegetable exports hit $604 million in the first two months of this year, marking a jump of 43.4 percent year-on-year and leaving other key agricultural exports far behind.

An article by reports how a growing appetite among foreign consumers for Vietnamese fruit is expected to reduce the country’s reliance on China, which accounted for 70 percent of Vietnam's fruit and vegetable exports in 2016. Local fruits are now exported to 60 countries and territories.

Publication date: 3/2/2018



Australian horticulture export value has increased due to strengthening demand in China which is forecast to continue

Australian produce may not be able to compete on price in overseas export markets, but it can compete on quality, reliability, and safety, according to ABARES’ senior economist Caroline Gunning-Trant.

“Exports of fresh horticultural produce were worth more than $2bn in 2016 to 17, with strong growth in fruit and nut exports over the past five years,” she said.

Meeting the expectations of consumers was a key takeaway point for delegates at the ABARES Outlook 2018 conference today in Canberra.

Gunning-Trant said that a demand from Asia for Australian produce, coupled with favourable exchange rates and improved access, have supported Australia’s recent export growth.

Over the six years to 2016-17, Australia’s fruit and nut exports to its top five destinations more than doubled, and the value of vegetable exports increased 50 per cent.

Moving forward

The ABARES Outlook 2018 Agricultural commodities report has forecast overall Australian agricultural exports to increase by A$3bn over the next five years, continuing the upward trend. However, due to record production in 2016-17, the gross value of overall farm production is forecast to decline in 2017-18 by five per cent.

Internationally, Australian horticultural goods are a high value sector, and Elliot Jones, general manager – grape and citrus at Costa Group understands the importance of customer expectations to create sustainable markets and solidify Australia’s premium stance.

“China is a fast-growing market where consumers are increasingly brand and quality conscious. … Our brand and quality consistency will be key to sustaining those markets,” he said.

In terms of competing with China’s own supply, the report also mentioned that the Chinese fruit industry is “not expected to produce sufficient quality fruit to displace imports from Australia over the medium term.”

Jones also stresses the importance of maintaining and improving market access protocols as critical to the industry’s success.

Domestically, the ABARES Outlook 2018 report also anticipates “moderate growth” for fruit, with Australian production and demand expected to increase, but per person fruit consumption to not growing significantly.

Throughout the next five years domestic fruit prices are expected to fall due to increased competition.

For vegetables, overall production in 2016-17 saw a two per cent drop in value, which is expected to increase by A$2m to A$3.8bn in 2017-18, far less than the two per cent decrease from 16-17.

Growth in tree nut production has been significant, and is expected to correct itself as the continuously increasing global supply outpaces demand for growth.

High costs of irrigation for Australian growers is also expected to raise overall production costs meaning the industry will need to invest in supply-chain efficiencies and value-adding opportunities.



Chinese fresh food e-tailer provides supply chain solutions to fresh fruit companies

As demand for supply chain services continues to grow in China’s fresh fruit trade, Freshbridge, a new supply chain company dedicated to the industry, was recently established in Shanghai. One of the companies behind the new business is Fruitday, a leading Chinese fresh food e-tailer.

“As a leader and pioneer in China’s fresh fruit e-commerce sector, we have a deep understanding of the market,” said Loren Zhao, Fruitday co-founder, who also will be heading the new company. “We believe the future of fruit trading will rely on the integration of information, logistics and capital flow.”

Freshbridge aims to bring such integration through its wide range of supply chain solutions, which include sorting, packaging, ripening and deep processing, as well as wholesale, storage and logistics services. The company is positioning itself as the bridge that links growers, marketers and retailers online and offline, bringing them closer together than ever before.

According to the company, Freshbridge has recently formed a strategic partnership with Shanghai Longwu Fruit and Vegetable Wholesale Market. The two parties will work together in import, customs clearance, repackaging, storage, trade and logistics, and hope to become a one-stop solution provider for fresh fruit businesses.