Australia and Thailand finalise irradiation deal

Persimmon and mango suppliers the first to benefit from new agreement signed last week
Australia and Thailand have announced a new irradiation pathway for horticultural exports.

Finalised last week, the agreement will provide Australian and Thai suppliers with a more direct avenue to exporting their products, along with a safe and chemical-free way to manage biosecurity.

The irradiation process sees fruit enter a large chamber via a conveyer belt, where it is sterilised, killing bacteria and pests.

In most cases, the process alleviates the need for cold treatment, which is commonly conducted in transit via seafreight. Therefore, irradiation will provide a viable option to exporters from both countries hoping to send their fruit via airfreight.

Australian persimmon growers and Thai mango exporters will immediately benefit from the new agreement, with these products the first to be ticked off for approval under the irradiation plan.

Produced primarily in south-east Queensland, Australian persimmons have previously been exported to Thailand under cold treatment.

“This agreement will help open doors for the Queensland persimmon farmers and deliver speed to market,” said Australian minister for agriculture David Littleproud.

“With this deal done and dusted we can get on to tackling other commodities and get them on this same pathway. This will help get our quality produce onto Thailand supermarket shelves faster.” 


Source: Author: Matthew Jones

Thailand is enamoured with Aussie mandarins

Demand for Australian fruit, especially mandarins, continues to increase in Thailand, on the back of targeted trade promotional campaigns like the annual ‘Australia Now! In Season’ initiative.

‘Australia Now! In Season’ is a multi-industry, multi-country integrated promotional program focused on South East Asia. It is designed to raise awareness of the advantages of quality, safe and healthy Australian horticulture products.

The program promotes Australia’s fresh fruit as it comes into season, commencing with summer fruits including grapes, then pears, apples, navels and mandarins as the season progresses.

Stuart Rees, Austrade’s Trade Commissioner for Bangkok, said imported fresh fruit, including mandarins, is enjoying rapid market growth due to increasing demand from Thailand’s retail, food service and food manufacturing sectors.

‘This is because Thailand is the region’s food manufacturing hub, catering to both domestic and international markets. It is also underpinned by changing consumer patterns and the increasing income levels of Thai consumers,’ said Rees.

‘Thai consumers also have a greater awareness of food safety issues. Australia is seen as a “clean, green and safe” supplier, offering better quality and tasting produce when compared to imported products from other countries.

‘While the Thai market is particularly receptive to Australian table grapes, summer fruit, apples and pears, mandarins, particularly the Australian Honey Murcott variety, is becoming the popular choice,’ noted Rees.

‘Australian Honey Murcott mandarins are highly regarded because of their vibrant colour, long shelf life and high sugar content with a well-balanced acidity,’ he added.

While China remains Australia’s largest market by value for mandarins in 2016, Thailand was Australia’s largest export market by trade volume. More than 7,770 tonnes of mandarins were exported, an increase of nearly 25 per cent in 2016 according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Local retailers are reporting very strong sales of Australian mandarins and are predicting growth of 40 per cent during the ‘Australia Now! In Season’ campaign, as it often coincides with key Chinese Lunar events celebrated in Thailand like The Hungry Ghost, Full Moon and Vegetarian Festivals.

During the Hungry Ghost Festival, Thai-Chinese descendants purchase mandarins – because of their golden exterior – as offerings during prayers for spirits and ancestors. While during the 10-day Vegetarian Festival, Thai-Chinese abstain from eating meat and instead purchase fresh produce, particularly mandarins, in greater volumes.

Another initiative which has helped propel interest in Australian produce was the Austrade-AusVeg Thai buyers visit to Australia from 10-17 May.

Thai buyers visited various fruit growing regions – namely Western Australia’s Perth Hills, South Australia’s Riverland, Queensland’s Emerald and Bundaberg and Victoria’s Murray and Sunraysia districts – to obtain a greater awareness of Australia’s capabilities and offerings.

Rees said these activities have collectively resulted in more leading retailers across Thailand actively seeking Australian produce to sell in their stores.

The Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) has also provided Australian exporters with a competitive advantage over other countries, as it eliminated import duties for many fresh produce items in 2015.

For more information contact Austrade or visit the website to learn more about the opportunities in the fruit and vegetable sector and doing business in Thailand.

Source: Austrade

image: Pixabay_pixel2013


Avocado industry hopeful exports to Thailand and Japan will begin by end of year

The Australian avocado industry says it is the closest it has ever been to securing new export agreements for lucrative avocado markets in Thailand and Japan.

Avocados Australia chief executive John Tyas is hopeful exports from Western Australia will begin for the coming harvest in September. Mr Tyas said the main concern for both countries was Australia's fruit flies, but negotiations over an export protocol for the flies had taken significant steps forward. "Later this month I understand there will be some audits undertaken by the Japanese Government of pack houses in WA, so that's a really good sign that things are progressing," he said.
"Our government is in negotiations with the Japanese Government around a suitable protocol based on what we call conditional non-host status for hard green avocados. "What that means is when the avocados are in their hard condition picked from the tree they're actually not susceptible to fruit fly. It's only once they start to soften that fruit fly can infest them.
"The protocol that we're working on for Thailand has been presented to Thailand and there's been feedback on that."

Paving the way for other states

So far discussions have centred around how to manage WA's Mediterranean fruit fly, but Mr Tyas said the industry was hoping a successful WA export industry would pave the way for fruit from states with Queensland fruit fly. "At the moment we've seen a real opportunity for WA in particular because Mediterranean fruit fly is a concern in a number of countries," he said. "Acceptance that hard green avocados are not a host of fruit fly is well accepted around the world and there is a lot of scientific data to support that. So we should be able to get that over the line fairly soon."

Mr Tyas said in terms of Queensland fruit fly, there had been research done in Australia in the past that had demonstrated Hass avocados were not a host of Queensland fruit fly in their hard green condition. "However, we've found that the level of trials that was done, or the number of insects that were tested, wasn't sufficient to meet international protocols," Mr Tyas said. "So there is work underway at the moment that'll hopefully be finished at the end of this year that will prove with an adequate level of rigour for international trade."

Quality and supply vital

Mr Tyas said both countries presented good market opportunities for WA growers, but produce needed to be marketed as clean and green. He said quality and reliable supply was paramount.  With the West Australian avocado industry expected to increase production significantly, Mr Tyas said new markets were essential for the industry.

"It is a concern and there are new plantings going in all the time, so it's essential that we open new markets," he said. "There are other markets that we are trying to open. China is another one that we'd love to have access to, and there are other markets throughout Asia in particular that don't have protocols. "Most of our export fruit goes to Singapore and Malaysia at the moment and those markets don't require protocols. "We need to keep pushing every avenue that we can to get new markets for this increased supply." Mr Tyas said he would like to see Australia's avocado exports grow from 4 per cent to about 10 per cent in coming years.

Source : WA Country Hour By Joanna Prendergast