Australia's citrus industry set for another record year but nurseries run short of tree stock

Citrus growers across Australia have good reason to celebrate, with prices and global demand predicted to hit new records.

Chairman for Citrus Australia Ben Cant said the industry was booming, with growers getting twice or three times as much for their fruit than they were five years ago, and exports were steadily increasing.

"We've seen returns in the vicinity of $700–900 a tonne on navel oranges this season," Mr Cant said.

"In 2012/2013 we were looking at $200–300 a tonne, which is about our cost of production … so now we see fantastic returns for growers."

Sunlands citrus grower Mark Doecke said it had been an exceptional season for growers as weather conditions, fruit quality, and crop quantity had been great.

"Citrus has to be picked when it is dry and above 12 to 13 degrees, so this year with harvest we had no drizzle and no rain," he said.

"I feel for my brothers in the dryland farming but, as far as citrus picking goes, it's been excellent for us."

Sunlands citrus grower Mark Doecke says they've had great season with good fruit quality, weather conditions, and fruit quantity. 

And as demand is outstripping supply, Australian exports are predicted to have increased by 10 per cent this year.

Mr Cant said last year's official figures for citrus exports were around $480 million and they were confident to be a bit over $500 million in exports this year.

"And we could see $550–600 million in export next year," Mr Cant said.

"We've seen positive improvements in all markets, Japan has been about the same but China and the USA are up and pretty much everything across the board.

"Certainly, the demand for navel oranges continues to rise across key export markets like China and Japan."

Chairman for Citrus Australia Ben Cant says citrus exports are predicted to have increased by 10 per cent this season. 


Growers benefit with first harvest under new import rules to China. After years of negotiations the Chinese Government recognised the Riverland region as a pest-free area for all horticulture commodities late last year, and the benefits were being felt by citrus growers this harvest.

The fruit-fly free recognition for exports to China means growers do not have to cold-treat their produce, which results in faster and direct shipment and cost savings for growers.

The Riverland's fruit-fly-free recognition for exports to China gives growers a competitive advantage. 

Chair of Citrus Australia SA Region Steve Burdette said it was their biggest competitive advantage where additional cost for cold treatment would not have to be paid anymore.

"The fruit is a lot fresher when you ship it and eating quality is a lot more superior," Mr Burdette said.

"It created a lot more demand for our fruit into China."

Mr Cant said reasons for the high demand from China was their rising middle class prepared to pay for quality and the recognition of Australia's citrus as a premium product.

Citrus Australia market access manager David Daniels said there was a 50–60 per cent increase of exports to China from South Australia compared to last season, but this number was based on a low tonnage figure.

"China is the number-one market across the country, but that trade is primarily captured by the Victorian exporters. For South Australia, Japan is still a very strong market," Mr Daniels said.

"Returns to growers are better than ever."

Ben Cant says demand for navel oranges is certainly increasing. (ABC Rural: Jessica Schremmer)
"I would have to say everywhere we go, growers are very happy, with some saying prices are better than they have ever experienced in their lifetime."

Mr Daniels said the global demand for citrus was high due to an undersupply from competitor nations, where growers struggled with pest and disease hitting their produce.

Citrus plantings boom but many nurseries are sold out of trees. As global demand for citrus is expected to be strong, thousands of new citrus tree plantings are going into the ground across the country. But many nurseries are sold out of stock and do not have trees available until early 2020.

Mr Cant said there was a two to three-year wait for nursery stocks.

"We are on a massive growth trajectory, people are putting in trees of the preferred varieties as fast as they can right now," he said.

Chislett Farms nursery manager Jonathan Chislett from the Mallee region in Victoria said demand for trees was very high.

"We're sold out for this year and next but have capacity for 2020," Mr Chislett said.

"I don't have the exact numbers but it might be a couple of hundred thousand trees."

Mr Chislett said it was the highest demand he had ever seen and, as demand increased, nurseries were increasing their capacity to accommodate for it.

Engelhardt Citrus nursery owner John Engelhardt, located in the Orara Valley in New South Wales said he sold out of stock in July this year and would not be able to supply growers until January 2020.

"There is a lot of demand for citrus trees as the growers are getting reasonable prices for the fruit and also the export markets seem to be lucrative," Mr Engelhardt said.

"We are increasing production but at a reasonable pace."

Mr Cant said they were concerned about the volumes of trees coming on board but would work hard on opening more export markets.


ABC Rural
By Jessica Schremmer and Nadia Isa

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2018-10-19/another-record-year-for-citrus-industry/10388240 

Record volumes of California grapes

The industry has set a new five-week record for shipments worldwide despite trade tensions
rom 8 September to 12 October the California table grape industry exported over 23m cartons, marking the most boxes shipped in this window on record.

“This year, unfortunately, there was a period of nearly three months when shipments to USDA were under-reported compared to prior years,” said Kathleen Nave, president of the California Table Grape commission.

“This caused confusion as it appeared that with excellent quality and a large crop, the volume wasn’t moving. Once the reports were updated, two things became clear: volume was moving all along, and the last five weeks set a volume record.”

Due to the voluntary nature of USDA daily reporting, data collected is typically lower than the actual reported volume.

“It is pretty easy to add 22 percent to the last five weeks of USDA data and see why the expectation is that the shipments will have blown away industry actuals,” Nave said.

Grapes shipping into traditional export markets were down only eight per cent in total despite some trade tension, while Nave reported volumes increased to other markets including Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea, and the Netherlands.

From September through to January, the industry typically ships around 60-65 per cent of its volume, according to Naver. Because of this, aggressive autumn promotions will be planned, and additional funding allocated to late-season product.

Major California grower, Sunworld, also reported a record crop for the season.

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

 

U.S. - Larger California citrus crop expected but smaller Navel sizing

The 2018-19 California citrus crop looks like it will be larger than last year, but there will likely be some issues with sizing, according to an industry body.

California Citrus Commission president Joel Nelsen told Fresh Fruit Portal that it seems Navel oranges would be most heavily affected by a higher proportion of smaller sizes in the wake of the heat wave this summer.

But overall he said the season was shaping up well, with good fruit flavor and exterior quality expected across the board.

The first harvests will likely start this week, and initial volumes to be available in the market for Halloween in late October.

“The big issue for us this year is there seems to be more smaller-sized fruit,” he said.

“So that fruit 88s and smaller are going to be more difficult to market – we’re going to have plenty of 56s, 72s … but everything is shaping up well. The external quality looks good, and all the summer heat should bring us good flavored fruit, so there’s room for optimism.”

He said the smaller sizing could be across all citrus types this season, but as yet it was unclear.

“I know up in the San Joaquin Valley we’ve got an excellent crop of lemons, I know the mandarin fruit looks pretty good right now from a size perspective … So I think it’s mainly been the Navel oranges that’s been affected.”

He also pointed out that there has been plenty of surface water growers could access this year.

Timing-wise the season is running a little bit later than last year, with a lack of cold nights slowing color development.

“You can’t be picking green fruit when it comes to citrus. We haven’t had that many cold nights, so it’s all up to Mother Nature now,” he said.

The mandarin harvests should start around the same time as the Navel harvests, beginning with Satsumas, then moving onto Clementines and Murcotts.

While the U.S. Navel market is reported to be relatively healthy at the moment, a recent market report by Capespan North America noted the easy peeler market was much slower, with an abundance of Chilean mandarins available.

“We’ve seen an explosion of offshore imports into our domestic market and the pricing is chaotic. One could almost argue there has been some dumping in terms of price,” Nelsen said.

“There is an oversupply situation, and it’s difficult for the domestic producer to push back on that because our costs are generally more expensive than what the offshore producer has in terms of cost.

“But we think that with our consistent quality, meaning both flavor and exterior quality our fruit will knock that stuff off the store shelves.”

Source: www.freshfruitportal.com

Vietnam: Vinh Phuc province exports first red flesh dragon fruits to Australia

Last week, the first batch of red flesh dragon fruits from Vietnam’s Vinh Phuc province was exported Australia. According to the Vietnam Trade Office in Australia, this is the first time Vietnamese red flesh dragon fruits have been exported to the Aussie market.

Australia is a choosy but promising market for Vietnamese farm produce. Exporters are advised to follow Australia’s quarantine regulations on cultivation areas, packaging, irradiation and pesticide residues right in Vietnam.

According to en.vietnamplus.vn, the export to Australia is expected to open up a chance for Vietnam to ship the fruit to the US and Europe. It took Vietnam nine years to negotiate and complete all the necessary procedures to export dragon fruit to Australia. Previously, Vinh Phuc’s red fresh dragon fruits had already been shipped to Japan and Malaysia.


Publication date : 9/25/2018

Source: http://www.freshplaza.com

Sharp uptick for table grape exports to Japan

Australian table grape exports to Japan rose by 30% year-on-year in the past season, making the Asian country its third-largest market, according to Weekly Times Now.

The sharp increase compares to a 3% rise in total exports during the 2018 season that ran from January through June. Returns to exports rose by the same level to AUD$384.7 million (US$272 million).

Australian Table Grape ­Association chief executive Jeff Scott said 10,882 metric tons (MT) were shipped to Japan this year, accounting for almost 10 percent of all offshore sales.

The increasing demand in Japan follows investments in promotional events in Japan and Korea before the season kicked off in early January.

“We’ve been doing a lot of work in Japan in terms of gaining market share,” Scott was quoted as saying.

“It’s a very mature market that recognises good quality and is prepared to pay for it. Korea is another market we’ve been working on and where exports have increased quite significantly.”

China remains Australia’s strongest export market for table grapes, taking 41,668MT, or 38 percent, while Indonesia is the second biggest market, ­accounting for almost 15 percent of market share with 16,149MT.

Scott said there was an annual trend of 8 per cent growth across all export markets over the past five years.

Source: https://www.freshfruitportal.com

China: Direct sourcing app for vegetables could be worth US$7B

A Chinese startup called Meicai that helps farmers sell vegetables to restaurants has reportedly raised at least US$600 million in a recent funding round led by Hillhouse Capital and Tiger Global Management, according to Bloomberg.

People familiar with the matter said the money will be used to expand as the startup competes for a bigger share of China’s fragmented food sourcing market.

According to one person familiar, the company raised about US$800 million at a valuation of about US$7 billion. Meicai was said to be valued at about $2.8 billion pre-investment in its previous funding round in January.

Meicai, which means “beautiful vegetable,” was founded in 2014 by Liu Chuanjun, a rocket scientist who set a goal of sourcing produce for about 10 million small- and medium-sized restaurants in China.

Using a smartphone app, customers can order specialties such as bok choy and Sichuan peppercorns directly from farms, disrupting traditional wholesaling by cutting out middlemen.

The funding round is among the largest for a Chinese startup this year, Bloomberg reported.

 

Source: https://www.freshfruitportal.com 

Trump's trade tariffs push Egyptian oranges to Shanghai fruit shops

The trade war between the United States and China is presenting opportunities for fruit distributor Sunmoon Food Co., as the company is now shipping navel oranges from Egypt, kiwis from Italy and apples from Poland into China for the first time ever. The produce is to fill the gap created when the Asian nation retaliated by slapping tariffs on U.S. fruit.

Sunmoon is not by any means a big company if one compares them to Fresh Del Monte Produce, for instance. Where the latter had a revenue of $4.1 billion last year, Sunmoon only had a turnover of $45 million. But the new business it’s doing in China underscores how the tariff tit-for-tat between the world’s two biggest economies is reshaping global trade flows. China imported $6.2 billion worth of fresh and dried fruit and nuts last year, up nearly ten-fold from 2015, according to customs data.

“As with any trade war or political upheaval, there will always be a certain re-balancing along the markets,” Gary Loh, Sunmoon’s chief executive officer, said in an interview. “Companies like ours can take advantage of this and introduce new products into new markets.”

Sunmoon counts China as its largest sales market, where it can reach 900 million mouths through its partnership with Shanghai Yiguo E-commerce Co., an Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. affiliate that owns more than half of the company.

When China raised tariffs on U.S. goods, Sunmoon responded by shipping navel oranges from a packaging house in the suburbs of Cairo to its warehouses in Shanghai. Other countries' oranges are being tested, like the ones from Israel, Morocco and Spain. These oranges are put out in the Chinese market with the chance of increasing shipments next year if the tariffs have not been removed.

Source: Bloomberg via: www.freshplaza.com


Publication date : 9/17/2018

 

Kiwi fruit claim costs New Zealand taxpayers $6 million plus in Biosecurity case

Taxpayers have so far spent $6 million to defend the kiwifruit claim case, and the Appeal Court hearing has yet to start. This will make it the most expensive primary sector court case on record.

In June, the 212 growers who joined a class action won a High Court case which found the Ministry for Primary Industries was negligent in allowing the disease Psa into the country in 2010. They are claiming $450m compensation.

MPI said it was taking the case to appeal because it sought to "clarify the scope for government regulators to be sued in negligence". It added the High Court finding had the potential to "significantly impact on the Ministry's biosecurity operations".

The claimants have filed a cross-appeal on the grounds that packer Seeka was owed a duty of care, contrary to the High Court finding, and that MPI was negligent in failing to inspect a shipment of banned kiwifruit plant material, infected with Psa, when it arrived from China.

The 12-week High Court case was funded by litigation funder the LPF Group, chaired by former Supreme Court judge Bill Wilson. As a funder of the class action, LPF Group is to receive a percentage of the compensation granted.

In response to an Official Information request, the Ministry for Primary Industries said the $6m figure did not include internal staffing costs, and it would not be possible to provide an exact figure for the total time spent by staff. The costs for consultants and experts paid directly by MPI was $400,000.

Source: stuff.co.nz via www.freshplaza.com 


Publication date : 9/17/2018

Bumper California navel deal predicted

Fruit set is up 22 per cent on the five-year average meaning high volumes expected despite no increase in total hectares planted
Starting from a lower plantation base this season the California navel deal is looking to be the most fruitful in volume since the 2005-2006 season. The news comes with significance as total land volume this season is down 8,700 planted hectares from ten years prior.

Survey data from the California navel Orange Objective Measurement Report indicated a fruit set per tree of 426, above the five-year average of 333 (up 22 per cent).

The survey predicts the initial 2018-2019 navel orange forecast is 80m cartons, up 11 percent from the previous year. Of the total navel orange forecast, 77m cartons are estimated to be in the Central Valley.

Bearing orchards are at the same number of hectares as the year prior, but with the higher fruit set (up 426 per tree from 273 last season) the hope is that forecast volumes will be bumper.

However, total tonnage might not be as high due to fruit diameter at a lower September 1 average. The five-year average as of September 1 was at 6.8cm, now down to 5.3cm.

 

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

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

Indonesia boost for Australian exporters

Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement will mean reduced tariffs and greater opportunities

Australian farmers will have tariffs reduced and be able to export more agricultural products including citrus to Indonesia, after the coalition government signed the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA).

It gives producers and exporters the opportunity to grow their A$3.5bn share of the Indonesian market - indeed, Indonesia is Australi's fourth-largest agricultural export destination.

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said the coalition government continued to deliver farmers better access to more markets.

“This agreement improve access for industries which trade most to Indonesia, including our livestock, beef and sheepmeat, grains, sugar, dairy, citrus and horticulture,” he said.

“Oranges and limes will get increased duty-free access while dairy, mandarins, potatoes and carrots will get reduced tariffs," he confirmed.

The conclusion of substantive negotiation of IA-CEPA was signed in Indonesia by Australian prime minister Scott Morrison.

Key agricultural outcomes of the IA-CEPA include immediate tariff cuts on mandarins from 25 per cent to 10 per cent for 7,500 tonnes per year, down to 0 per cent after 20 years for an unlimited volume, and duty free access for 10,000 tonnes of oranges per year, increasing 5 per cent each year, as well as duty free access for 5,000 tonnes of lemons and limes per year, increasing 2.5 per cent each year.

The agreement also means immediate tariff cuts for potatoes from 25 per cent to 10 per cent for 10,000 tonnes per year; after five years tariff further reduced to 5 per cent for 12,500 tonnes per year, increasing by 2.5 per cent per year, and immediate tariff cuts for carrots from 25 per cent to 10 per cent (from 25 per cent) for 5,000 tonnes per year; down to 0 per cent after 15 years for an unlimited volume.

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources MEDIA RELEASE


The Hon. David Littleproud MP

Friday, 31 August 2018

Indonesia trade boost for Australian farmers

• Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) signed this week
• Improves market access for Australian livestock, beef and sheepmeat, grains, sugar, dairy, citrus and horticulture
• Allows farmers to grow their $3.5 billion share of the Indonesian market

Australian farmers will have tariffs reduced and be able to export more livestock, beef and sheep meat, grains, sugar, dairy, citrus and horticulture produce to Indonesia after the Coalition Government today signed the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA).


Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said the Coalition Government continued to deliver farmers better access to more markets.


“This agreement improve access for industries which trade most to Indonesia, including our livestock, beef and sheepmeat, grains, sugar, dairy, citrus and horticulture,” Minister Littleproud said.
“This agreement delivers duty free access for half a million tonnes of feed grains per year.
“Our wheat industry exported $1.3 billion worth of produce to Indonesia in 2016-17 and this will grow that further.
”The agreement will increase duty free access for live male cattle by 4 per cent a year to 700,000 head annually.
“Tariffs on most lines of beef and sheepmeat will be reduced from 5 to 0 per cent immediately, with all remaining tariffs to be removed after five years. This will help us build on the $261 million that these exports were worth to Australia in 2016-17.
“Our grain farmers will get guaranteed duty free access for 500,000 tonnes of wheat, barely and sorghum grains per year increasing at 5% per year to 775,664 tonnes.
“Tariffs on our sugar cane will drop from as high as 12 per cent to 5 per cent.
“Oranges and limes will get increased duty-free access while dairy, mandarins, potatoes and carrots will get reduced tariffs.”
Minister Littleproud thanked former trade Minister Steve Ciobo for his hard work on this agreement, and also thanked the trade division of the Australian Department of Agriculture.
The conclusion of substantive negotiation of IA-CEPA was signed today in Indonesia by Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison.

Background facts:
• Indonesia is our fourth most important agriculture market
* Agriculture makes up almost half of our total exports to Indonesia - worth $3.5 billion to our economy.
* Australia’s top agriculture exports in 2016-17 to Indonesia include wheat ($1.3 billion), sugar ($541 million) and live feeder/slaughter cattle ($620 million).

Key agricultural outcomes from the IA-CEPA include:
More than 99% of Australian goods exports to Indonesia will enter duty free or under significantly improved and preferential arrangements.
• Duty free access for 575,000 head of live male cattle per year, growing at 4% per year to 700,000 at year five of the agreement.
• Remaining tariffs on all Australian exports of frozen beef and sheepmeat into Indonesia reduced to 2.5% immediately, and eliminated after 5 years.
• Guaranteed duty free access for 500,000 tonnes of feed grains per year (wheat, barley, sorghum), increasing at 5% per year to 775,664 tonnes.
• Reducing the tariff on Australian sugar cane from 8-12 % to 5%.
• Immediate elimination of 5% tariff for milk and cream, concentrated or containing added sugar or other sweetening matter.
• Immediate elimination of 5% tariff for grated or powdered cheese, of all kinds.
• Immediate tariff cut mandarins from 25% to 10% for 7,500 tonnes per year; down to 0% after 20 years for an unlimited volume.
• Duty free access for 10,000 tonnes of oranges per year, increasing 5% each year.
• Duty free access for 5,000 tonnes of lemons and limes per year, increasing 2.5% each year.
• Immediate tariff cuts for potatoes from 25% to 10% for 10,000 tonnes per year; after five years tariff further reduced to 5% for 12,500 tonnes per year, increasing by 2.5% per year.
• Immediate tariff cuts for carrots from 25% to 10% (from 25%) for 5,000 tonnes per year; down to 0% after 15 years for an unlimited volume.
• Progressive elimination of 5% tariff on Australian honey after 15 years.
Media Contact:
Les White, 0409 805 122