Shipments of oranges and mandarins to China continue to climb, while US demand stabilises

Increasing demand from China has been the driving force behind growth in Australian citrus exports over the last decade. Shipments to all international markets have increased on average 8 per cent by volume per year over ten years to 265,000 tonnes (12 months to September 2018).

Based on preliminary results for 2018, exports may miss the 2017 record (volume) by around 3 per cent, however, it is still a very strong result compared to even a few years ago. According to peak industry body Citrus Australia, mandarin exports were lower due to the lighter crop in Queensland this year, as well as an earlier finish to the season.

China, including Hong Kong, accounted for around 44 per cent of Australian citrus exports in 2018 (data until September), followed by Japan with 15 per cent.

Comparatively, China, including mostly Hong Kong, made up 17 per cent of exports in 2008, while Japan was 11 per cent. Back then North America was the leading market, holding a 22 per cent share of exports. It now holds 7 per cent.

Australia enjoyed many years of solid trade into North America, being the first Southern Hemisphere country to gain market access for citrus to the US in 1993. As more countries gained access to this lucrative market, Australia’s share declined. While Australia’s market development focus has shifted to China, the North American market, including the US and Canada, has settled to a stable demand pattern for Australian oranges and increasingly mandarins, mostly from the West Coast regions. Trade to North America lifted 8 per cent in 2018.

Korea is a developing market for Australian oranges and lifted 48 per cent in 2018 to over 3,000 tonnes. With tariffs approaching zero by 2020 under a free trade agreement, Citrus Australia sees greater opportunities in the Korean market for counter-seasonal citrus from Australia.

ASEAN markets have long been the mainstay of Australian citrus exports, though the mix of markets has changed. Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines have ramped up to become significant markets, while Singapore has been steady at around 10,000 tonnes. Malaysia, once the largest market in the region, has declined in volume by over 50 per cent in ten years.

The Middle East markets have increased more than 3 per cent year-on-year over the decade, although they dipped some 20 per cent in 2018 as other suppliers increased their share in the region and traded more directly with end markets rather than through the UAE hub.

Europe remains a small opportunistic market for Australian citrus, with some niche opportunities for high-end fruit that can withstand the long distance and freight costs.

Citrus Australia has been focused on developing sustained export growth that has provided viable returns for growers large and small.

The range of navel oranges and the development of new seedless mandarin varieties to meet market needs have been instrumental in the growth enjoyed over the last few years, along with a cohesive team of professional exporters supported by Citrus Australia.

 

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit

Author: Wayne Prowse

Australian stonefruit ready for retail

New export programme aims to build market share for Australian stonefruit in China

It’s not hard to see why China is the word on the Australian stonefruit industry’s lips.

Having gained direct access to the Asian nation for nectarines in 2016, Australian peaches, plums and apricots were approved for export in late 2017. The opening propelled the industry to its best export performance in over a decade, with 17,785 tonnes of fruit shipped internationally over 2017/18, a 27 per cent increase year-on-year.

China was the leading destination for this trade, receiving 4,985 tonnes of fruit directly, while Hong Kong took 3,308 tonnes.

With the 2018/19 export season getting underway in late November (2018), hopes are high these figures will again be eclipsed.

“Last year we had an exceptional year, our best export year since 2003, and we’re confident we’ll match it,” said John Moore, chief executive of peak industry body Summerfruit Australia.

“It will be the first year of full participation by all summerfruit growers in Australia for exports to China, with fruit primarily coming from Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales.”

To aid market development efforts and showcase the full capabilities of the industry, Australia’s Summerfruit Export Development Alliance (SEDA) – a body that sits within Summerfuit Australia – has developed a concentrated retail programme for the Chinese market.

Backed by a Food Sources grant from the Victorian state government, the programme will see eight Australian growers supply fruit directly to selected retail partners.

After SEDA called for expressions of interest in the programme in mid-2018, the participating growers were selected based on their ability to meet defined quality specifications.

An independent programme facilitator, appointed by SEDA, will conduct inspections upon each consignment’s departure to ensure the quality specifications continue to be met, while there will also be a provision for the Chinese retailers to have the fruit assessed upon arrival.

The programme’s remit isn’t just to highlight the quality of Australian stonefruit; it also aims to bring the category to the forefront of Chinese consumers’ minds.

A wide range of point-of-sale and promotional materials have been developed especially for the programme, while participating growers will send extra fruit to the retailers at no added charge in order to facilitate in-store sampling.

The SEDA programme will operate independently from the established Taste Australia retail programme, which also includes stonefruit promotions.

Ian McAlister, chair of SEDA, said one of the immediate benefits of the programme has been the level of collaboration it has promoted between participating growers. By McAlister's admission, no single Australian exporter has the capacity to deal with a large retailer on their own. By working together, the goal is to drive value growth for the category.

“What they (retailers) demand is consistency of product and the continuous supply of product,” McAlister said. “You can’t come in for one week, send a couple of containers, then be out of the market for three weeks.

“Under this programme, every grower will retain their identity, but if we can get a benchmark standard and consistency it will give the Chinese consumers and retailers the confidence that we can deliver again and again.”

Over 120 Australian stonefruit growers registered to send fruit to China ahead of the 2018/19 season, up from 76 on the year prior, indicating the willingness among the industry to grow this market. With this in mind, provisions have already been made to expand the retail programme.

“It’s been clearly explained to SEDA members that this is a pilot programme to demonstrate to the Chinese retailers that this can work,” Moore explained. “Eventually, as demand grows, we’ll need to source more and more fruit, so other growers will be encouraged to come onboard, providing they can meet the benchmark quality.”

Read more about the SEDA retail programme in the December 2018/January 2019 edition of Asiafruit Magazine, out now.

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

China: Cold storage forecast: capacity will exceed 53 million tons in 2018

With the rapid development of the domestic cold chain logistics market, the market demand for cold storage is becoming more and more prominent. Online shopping, fresh e-commerce, and fruit and vegetable home delivery are all popular choices in the current consumer market. For online shopping, fresh e-commerce, fruit and vegetable home delivery, transportation is very important. Benefiting from the growth of such consumption, the domestic cold chain logistics market has also developed rapidly. It is estimated that the size of China's cold chain logistics market will reach nearly 300 billion yuan in 2018. By 2020, the market will be nearly 470 billion yuan.

Cold storage is one of the important infrastructures in the cold chain logistics industry. At present, the domestic cold storage demand is mainly concentrated in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, Shenzhen, as well as Fujian, Tianjin, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shandong, Chongqing, Henan and other places.

In recent years, the number of cold storage facilities in China has increased, but there is still room for growth when considering the huge potential market. According to statistics, China's cold storage capacity exceeded 48 million tons in 2017 and will continue to grow in the future. It is estimated that by 2018, China's cold storage capacity will exceed 53 million tons.

Source: China Business Intelligence Network via www.freshplaza.com

Publication date : 12/18/2018

T&G Global: Orchard Rd to export first Aussie Tulare Giant sugar plums to China

T&G Global is gearing up for harvests of Australian Tulare Giant sugar plums with plans to ship the fruit to Asian markets under its Orchard Rd brand.

The company’s general manager of Australia (exports) Paul Scheffer says the fruit will start to be picked in small volumes next week with most growers expecting to start picking between Christmas and New Year.

“Size is looking larger than usual with our expectation of increased production of Tulare Giant that will be in good supply until mid-February,” Scheffer says.

“Export markets will include Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and mainland China. Retailers will be ranging under the Orchard Rd brand with promotional activity being scheduled for the lead-up into Lunar New Year.”

The option to export to mainland China has been made possible by the country’s decision in November 2017 to expand its market opening for Australian stonefruit to also include plums, peaches and apricots in a protocol that already included nectarines.

“We’ve got growers registered to meet the protocol for that direct access to China; that protocol will play a big part of what we do with Tulare,” says Scheffer, adding the fruit will be assisted into the market by T&G’s own Shanghai office.

“Initially the demand was purely taken up in Asia, but in the last two seasons we’ve released the product domestically here in Australia and that’s really given us a good balance for our growers.

“We’re doing a lot of targeted marketing around Chinese New Year as well – it’s been really successful.”

T&G has commercialization rights in Australia for the variety, which was bred by the University of California Davis.

“We are fortunate the have growers who are committed to delivering a great quality product with excellent eating characteristics,” says Scheffer.

He adds Tulare Giants are the earliest plums to hit the shelves in Australia, and the product should fit nicely into export markets as well as a counter-seasonal option to supplies from California.

Released as a cross-category brand less than a year ago with the goal of broader consumer recognition in Australia, Orchard Rd has expanded internationally.

Scheffer says the company has already been exporting USA berries and cherries into Asia under the label, as well as New Zealand berries and grapes for Japan.

“Our berry fruit and our sugar plums will probably be our two big Orchard Rd drivers for the summer,” he says.

Source: https://www.freshfruitportal.com 

First Australian avocados land in Japan

Australia’s first-ever avocado exports to Japan have recently arrived in the Asian country, receiving a ceremonious launch at the Australian embassy in Tokyo on Tuesday.

Government officials from both sides were in attendance, along with Japanese importers and retailers as well as industry representatives from Hort Innovation and Avocados Australia.

A new protocol signed in May allows the export of Australian Hass avocados grown in Queensland fruit fly-free areas to Japan.

Avocados Australia CEO John Tyas said the new trade agreement was “very exciting news for the Australian avocado industry”, and acknowledged the cumulative hard work by all agencies involved in making the trade agreement possible.

“It is very exciting for the industry that we can now add Japan to our exclusive list of export destinations for our top-quality premium Hass avocados,” he said.

“The industry in Australia is growing rapidly and we are very confident that Australia will be producing about 115,000 tonnes of avocados per year by 2025. This is 50 per cent more than our current production, and expanding our domestic and international markets is essential.”

Hort Innovation CEO Matt Brand said Australia has built a solid reputation for its premium quality fresh fruit and vegetables.

“Table grapes and citrus fruits are already established export products in the Japanese market and their market success has demonstrated a willingness by consumers to pay a premium price for high-quality produce,” he said.

“Japan is wholly dependent on avocado imports for their national supply. Until now, their avocados were predominantly sourced from Mexico and to a lesser extent, Peru, the US and New Zealand.”

He added that introducing Australian avocados into the marketplace offers Japanese consumers “a point of difference to their current supply” and will strengthen trade ties with local exporters.

“We are confident that this new market access opportunity will enhance trade relations with Japan, and in time, open up market access for other premium fresh fruit and vegetable items,” he said.

 

Source: https://www.freshfruitportal.com 

'California table grape shipments ‘to continue through January’

The California Table Grape Commission says that shipments are expected to continue “through the end of January” in what has been a record-breaking season.

Gowers shipped more than 27.7 million boxes into the worldwide marketplace from Oct. 13 to Nov. 30, the highest amount ever for the time period, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The previous seven-week shipment record during the same time period was set in 2013.

Earlier this season, the five-week shipping record for the time period between Sept. 8 through Oct. 12 was broken.

The three-month period of Sept. 1 to Nov. 30 set another record with over 55 million boxes of grapes shipped – an all-time high, beating the previous record set in 2013 for this time period.

Kathleen Nave, president of the California Table Grape Commission, said that aggressive fall and winter promotion programs are continuing.

The later end to the California table grape deal means there will likely be significant overlap with Peruvian and Chilean supplies. The Peruvian season began a few weeks ago, while the first Chilean harvests took place at the end of November.

The heavy California supplies also caused some of the lowest prices seen in years over the fall period, according to USDA data. The average values over much of November down by around a quarter on the three-year average.

Source: https://www.freshfruitportal.com 

New South Wales cherry growers turning to Chinese buyers

Cherry Growers Association Australia president Tom Eastlake is preparing for what could be a game-changing season. Eastlake is one of the many cherry growers around Young (New South Wales) gearing up to export their produce to China for the first time, thanks to relaxed new trade laws.

The climate around Young makes it prime territory for cherries and the NSW Department of Primary Industry said the Young region has seen some of the highest numbers of farmers registering to export to China in the state.

Growers have previously been restricted to sea-freighting their cherries to mainland China market because of Queensland fruit fly contamination fears. Now a new free-trade agreement between Australia and China has allowed growers to airfreight their produce after treating it for fruit fly.

Before the agreement, only growers in Tasmania could airfreight to mainland China, thanks to the island state being fruit fly free, while mainland Australian growers could export to Hong Kong.

But Eastlake said Chile was Australia's biggest competitor for the Chinese market. The South American nation could produce 200,000 tonnes of cherries this season, Mr Eastlake said, while Australian growers are hopeful for a record season this year of 18,000 tonnes.

"But it can be six weeks before the consumers are eating it [Chilean cherries]," Mr Eastlake said, with the majority of Chilean cherries moved by sea freight. Now, theoretically, Young cherries could find themselves on mainland Chinese shelves three days after being picked.

"You just can't beat something that's 72 hours from the tree. You just can't do it. The flavour's better. The appearance is better," he said. "Nowhere in the world can get things to South-East Asia as quickly as we can."

He said growers in Australia needed to get at least $8 a kilogram for cherries just to remain in the industry. "There's no money in it at $7 or $8. We're not making money hand over fist. We're not out there buying Rolls Royces."

Source: canberratimes.com.au via www.freshplaza.com 

Australian table grapes - forecast almost 18% above last year’s estimate

USDA GAIN report


Australia’s production of table grapes in 2018/19 is expected to be higher due to more favourable seasonal conditions, higher yields and a larger harvest area. This forecast is almost 18 percent above last year’s estimate, which was revised down due to poor weather, reduced yields, and a late season. Australian table grape producers are increasingly focusing on the growing export market as a result of strong international demand, especially from China.

Exports comprise almost 70 percent of production in recent years and are likely to grow further with the impending removal of Chinese tariffs on table grapes under the China-Australia FTA. Table grape imports, mainly from the United States, are likely to remain the same as 2018/19, primarily due to the strengthening U.S. dollar.

Production
Table grape production is forecast at 200,000 MT in 2018/19, up almost 18 percent on the previous year due to favorable seasonal conditions and higher yields. The harvested area is forecast to expand to 12,000 hectares in 2018/19, up 9 percent in anticipation of higher yields and an expanded harvest area.

Production in the previous year featured poor yields in a number of areas due to hotter temperatures. Most grape producers in Australia are small and medium-sized family businesses, with a few large growers. Sunraysia is Australia’s largest table grape growing region, producing an estimated 80 percent of total production. Early season regions include the Northern Territory and Queensland with 70 percent of late season production from the Sunraysia region of Victoria, based at Mildura and Robinvale.

Australian exports of table grapes, 2012-2017 (in 1,000 tons)

Click here for the full report.


Publication date : 11/23/2018

Source: www.freshplaza.com 

Japanese persimmons to go on sale in Australia for the first time

Following a regulatory change earlier this year, persimmons grown in Japan will go on sale in Australia this month for the first time, the Sydney office of the Japan External Trade Organization has stated.

In January, the Australian government relaxed quarantine conditions that had required persimmons grown in Japan to be treated with a specific pesticide to be imported. The harmful effect of the pesticide on crop quality effectively prevented exports until now.

Under the new trial import program, roughly 1 ton of persimmons grown in Wakayama Prefecture in western Japan have been imported and will go on sale from Friday through Sunday at select Asian grocery stores around Sydney.

"One persimmon can provide the recommended daily intake of vitamins A and C," Shigekazu Kimura, a senior official of Kihoku-kawakami Agricultural Cooperative Society in Wakayama, said at a JETRO-hosted event in Sydney, explaining the many health benefits of the sweet fruit.

Persimmons are still a lesser-known fruit in Australia, but their popularity is growing.

Source: kyodonews.net via www.freshplaza.com 


Publication date : 11/22/2018

Michael Every of Rabobank: 'New Zealand could be forced to pick a side between US and China'

The US-China trade conflict is developing into a ‘cold’ war for global economic supremacy and could result in New Zealand being forced to pick a side between the two global superpowers, according to Rabobank’s Head of Financial Markets research for Asia-Pacific Michael Every.

And with this threat on the horizon, Mr Every says New Zealand’s agricultural sector should aim to reduce its reliance on individual trade partners and place an increased focus on diversification of its export markets.

Visiting New Zealand last week to speak at a number of Rabobank events in both North and South islands, Mr Every said he expected US-China relations to deteriorate further.

“The clash between the US and China is not going away, it’s not an aberration, it’s going to get worse,” he said.

“China and the US both want to be number one, they both want to be sitting in the driving seat for who gets to set the rules for the global economy and who everyone looks to as the global leader and there’s only room for one in that chair.”

Mr Every said increasing tensions could produce a scenario where New Zealand is forced to choose sides.

“China is aggressively pursuing trade expansion and there may come a time when a gun is put to New Zealand’s forehead and you’ll be asked are you with us, or are you with the US,” he said.

“If you answer the US, the Chinese could slam the door shut.”

Mr Every said China’s growing global influence and use of policies inconsistent with free trade had provoked the US to retaliate with tariffs on Chinese imports and other as anti-China trade policy.

“Last month the US concluded a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico, which requires them to notify the US before entering into any agreements with non-market economies such as China. This was economic warfare dressed up as trade and the type of move the US may try to employ in the Asia-Pacific region.” he said.

In March this year, 11 nations, including New Zealand, signed up to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The TPP was originally intended to include the US, but it withdrew from negotiations in 2017. In January, however, US President Donald Trump signalled he could push harder for “substantially better" Pacific trade deal for the US.

“At some point the US is going to come crashing back into the Asia-Pacific region because it’s so geopolitically important,” Mr Every said. “And the message may well be that the price of protecting New Zealand is a new trade deal on their terms and which forbids, or greatly restricts, dealing with China.”

An ultimatum from either of the US or China would place New Zealand in a perilous position given its significant trade ties with both countries.

New Zealand’s agricultural exports to China have grown rapidly in recent years and China is now New Zealand’s most important trading partner. New Zealand also has a significant trade relationship with the US as well as historically strong diplomatic and cultural ties.

Mr Every said New Zealand farmers and exporters should look to diversify offshore markets, before any concessions are demanded by the US or China.

“New Zealand’s agricultural sector should be looking to further develop links into new growth markets like Japan, Indonesia and India,” he said. “While this may take a lot more effort in the short-term, it will leave agricultural exporters in a better position should the US or China start making demands down the track."

“New Zealand needs to look at it as an opportunity, rather than a threat, and ask ‘what brand can we build for agriculture that allows us to thrive’, because trade protectionism won’t go away.”

Mr Every said with increased market volatility likely, New Zealand farmers should also be taking a close look at their balance sheets.

“Farmers would be wise to shore up their balance sheets so they are robust enough to cope with a scenario where one of New Zealand’s major trading partners withdraws from the market,” he said.

For more information:
Rabobank.com 


Publication date : 11/13/2018

Source: www.freshplaza.com 

Australian cherry crop sizes up well

Early forecasts point to solid national crop, with mainland growers sending directly to China via airfreight
As Australia’s early-season cherry harvest gets underway, hopes are high for a record crop.

Cherry Growers Australia president Tom Eastlake said all major production regions were cropping well, with growers on track to surpass the 16,000 tonne mark for the first time.

“The forecast at the moment depends on how bullish you want to be … we would have to be starting this year at a baseline of 20 per cent higher than 15,000 tonnes, so it will be about 18,000 tonnes," Eastlake told ABC News.

“Assuming we don't have any adverse weather events come through, I would be reasonably confident we hit that mark."

Cherry growers in New South Wales are optimistic about crop forecasts, despite the state being in the grips of drought.

Water storage in the key production hub surrounding the township of Young is down, but many don’t foresee this as a wholesale problem.

“It means we just have to manage our water supply well,” Fiona Hall, managing director of Caernarvon Cherry Co, told Asiafruit. “Good management will mean there will be no impact on the crop as we hope for more rain through early summer.”

The dry spell, coupled with a warm winter, resulted in a later blossom in New South Wales, which has seen a later start to harvest for some growers.

Further south in Victoria, growers are reporting an above average fruit set, although some areas were affected by an early frost at budbreak. This has been compensated by a better than average fruit set on other varieties.

Michael Rouget, managing director of Victorian-based grower-packer-exporter Koala Cherries, said he was expecting a “normal crop to slightly above average" on his orchards.

Cautious optimism for China

Having secured significant market access improvements in January this year, the upcoming 2018/19 campaign will see mainland cherry growers send fruit directly to China via airfreight for the first time. However, it will be with an eye on laying the foundations for what the industry hopes will develop into a lucrative market.

“It is a positive step forward. People are optimistic but cautious given this is new territory for mainland cherry producers in Australia,” Rouget said. “I think this season most growers will trial shipments through this pathway but do it cautiously.”

The new protocol with China requires all mainland cherries grown outside recognised pest free areas to undergo methyl bromide treatment prior to export.

Hugh Molloy of Antico International says an adherence to high-quality will be crucial when it comes to developing market share in China.

“There is specific and unique demand for Australian supply if we can deliver consistent high quality, firm, sweet fruit,” Molloy told Asiafruit. “If this is established over November and December, the sales draw should then flow on into the Tasmanian supply window, which this year is perfectly suited to and timed for the Chinese New Year gifting period.”

 

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit

Author : Matthew Jones

Early Murcott Mandarin Variety Key to BGP’s Good Start in China

From September 5 to 8, the booth of BGP International, a Melbourne-based produce company, caught the eye of many attendees at Asia Fruit Logistica 2018 Hong Kong. Since its founding in 1992, BGP has strived to provide customers with high-quality fresh produce year-round through extensive cooperation with partners in Australia, the United States, Pakistan, India, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa, and New Zealand. Now, the company has also expanded operations to California, the Philippines, India, and Egypt. Produce Report interviewed Neil Barker, CEO of BGP, to explore how his company has done in China.

Citrus has been a key category for BGP, with the company’s annual citrus volume exceeding 40,000 metric tons. Relying on oranges, mandarins, and grapefruit from the world's leading production regions to develop the Chinese market has proven a sound strategy which pairs well with BGP's own strengths. The company’s strategy for China focuses on a special Murcott mandarin, the very early Murcott variety Royal Honey Murcott, which was discovered and patented by Ironbark Citrus, a producer of premium Australian mandarins in Queensland. This variety matures one month earlier than other Murcott mandarins and possesses a skin texture and taste profile which appeals to Chinese consumers.

As an appointed partner of Ironbark Citrus, BGP enjoys the privilege of being able to promote the variety in China before fierce market competition kicks in. "Until now, every year when the sales season kicks off for Royal Honey Murcott, demand is always two to three times greater than the volume available, so we have to restrict access to only a small number of specially-selected importers to better serve the market.” Neil continued however, noting that, "because we started with these early varieties, we are in a good position to go on with our later Murcott varieties."

For a first-hand account of this highly sought-after variety, Produce Report also spoke with Jing Huang, Assistant to CEO for Fruitday, a major Chinese fresh produce e-retailer, who confirmed the popularity of the Royal Honey Murcott in China. “This will be our fifth year marketing this variety on our platform. In addition to maturing early, Royal Honey Murcotts also boast a good appearance, excellent taste, high brix, and low acid content. As a result, it has been received well on Fruitday and is a perfect fit for the Chinese market.”

According to Neil, production of Royal Honey Murcotts is expected to double over the next 3 years and BGP will be working to continually increase market penetration for the variety in China.

Besides sourcing from Australia, BGP were also among the first companies to bring Chinese consumers mandarins, grapefruit, and lemons from Egypt. "We also expect some increases in these volumes in the years ahead. To achieve this goal, our grower partners in Egypt and South Africa are planting new farms with varieties specifically developed for the Chinese and Asian markets," Neil remarked. In addition to expanding the existing supply chain volumes, BGP is actively exploring new fruit varieties as well, such as avocadoes, nectarines, plums, and peaches, to further add value to its business in China.

BGP has been exporting premium Australian fruit to China since the early 2000s. Over the years, the company has developed into a crucial supplier to many upscale supermarkets, online retailers, and wholesalers in China. As one of the forerunners in marketing China-grown produce around the world, BGP has operated an office in China for a number of years to facilitate its exports of apples, citrus, garlic, and ginger to India, the EU, and other Asian markets. BGP was also involved in the early shipments of Ya pears (a famous type of pear native to northern China) to Australia.

Source: https://www.producereport.com