During the 21st meeting of the Working Group on Agriculture, Food and Forestry Cooperation (WGAFFC) between Australia and Indonesia - held in Melbourne from Feb. 14 to 15 - it was agreed that Indonesia will soon start exporting mangoes and dragon fruit to Australia.
Acording to an article by thejakartapost.com, the head of the Indonesian Agriculture Ministry’s Agriculture Quarantine Agency, Banun Harpini, said Australia had agreed to irradiate the fruit to assure the products would meet Australian standards.
“We will start exporting mangoes of the upcoming harvest season to Australia in October,” said Banun. Exports of dragon fruit could start in the middle of this year.
Meanwhile, Louise Van Meurs of Australia’s Agricultural and Water Resources Department demanded that Indonesia accept imports of seed potatoes from South Australia and Victoria, which Indonesia agreed to during this meeting.
However, Australian dragon fruit growers struggling to stay afloat have criticised the Federal Government for what they said is complete ignorance of the negative fallout from trade deals.
Marcus Karlsson, a farmer in the Northern Territory and his family were the first in the country to start producing dragon fruits. He labelled this season as the worst he ever experienced. A trade protocol signed with Vietnam last year allowed dragon fruit to be imported, in direct competition with local growers. "It 's dragged the price down."
He said other farmers are also suffering, including nearby grower James Vong Nguyen from Harvest Hill Orchard at Humpty Doo. He purchased his property only three years ago and was now desperately worried about how he and his wife will make money. "We lost about $80-100,000 in the last six months," Mr Vong Nguyen said.
Publication date: 2/16/2018