Analysis of sudden price increase for Chinese fruit

As the seasonal market is changing, fresh fruit enters the market in large volumes. A quick look at this year's prices in comparison with last year shows that fruit prices greatly increased this year. One of the reasons for this development is quite obvious, the overall production volume decreased because of extreme weather conditions this year. However, looking at broader price developments shows that this price increase started much earlier than this year. The price of domestic fruit has been on the rise for several years now, and this is likely to be the prevailing trend in the future as well.

Well then, what are the reasons for this development?

Shrinking gap in product quality and product variety between domestic fruit and imported fruit
Imported fruit is not nearly as rare as it was on the market 10 years ago. As China opened the doors wide, more and more fruit importers have entered the Chinese market. The annual import volume of fruit continues to increase. In some situations the market even turned upside down, and imported fruit became a common sight. Under these circumstances, some consumers, suppliers, and plantation owners began to change their perception of domestic fruit:

First, various production areas in China have been importing fruit varieties from abroad for many years now, and this is particularly true for south China. Plantation owners experimented and adjusted until these fruit varieties performed well in Chinese production areas, and the fruit now produced in these areas is virtually indistinguishable from imported fruit, whether it is in terms of flavor or other characteristics.

Second, China continues to upgrade and innovate plantation technology and equipment in the agricultural industry. Plantation owners often apply glasshouse and greenhouse technology, and experiment with growing environments developed in agricultural production areas abroad. This also guarantees increased product quality for fruit produced in China.

Third, steady economic growth in China means that overall living standards have increased in recent years. Consumers enjoy higher average incomes and are able to spend more on food products. Consumers in China have begun to change their consumption pattern from quantity to quality. Farmers and fruit traders only have to improve the product quality of their fruit, and consumers are eager to pay extra. The proportion of top-quality fruit is still relatively small in the current fruit market. Increased consumer demand for top-quality fruit will eventually increase market prices.


Publication date : 11/2/2018

Source: www.freshplaza.com 

New Zealand is beating Australia regarding Pacific work force

Both New Zealand and Australia want to attract tourist fruit pickers [‘backpackers’] and seasonal workers from around the Pacific. However, latterly the numbers are becoming somewhat skewered. For every 1,000 backpackers picking fruit and vegetables in New Zealand, there are about 3,000 seasonal workers from the Pacific. In Australia, the mix is different: for every 1,000 backpackers there are only about 250 Pacific seasonal workers.

The Australian outcome is what the research literature predicts: employers preferring the more flexible, much less regulated backpacker. It’s less hassle, and as recent media and academic research has shown, easier to get away with underpaying backpackers, where no government approval or reporting is required, than with seasonal workers, where stringent approval and reporting requirements are imposed.

How then to explain New Zealand’s contrary performance? There seem to be five factors which explain why New Zealand’s 2007 seasonal worker scheme (called the RSE or Recognised Seasonal Employer) has been much more popular than Australia’s 2009 Seasonal Worker Program (SWP).

First, New Zealand’s horticultural sector has a much stronger export orientation. As a result, the sector is more focused on quality and compliance, as stories of worker exploitation risk the loss of export markets. In contrast, Australian farmers are producing mainly for the domestic market, with little external scrutiny of workplace conditions and employee rights. They are focused primarily on costs rather than reputation.

Second, collective action is easier in New Zealand. New Zealand’s horticultural sector is much better organised than in Australia, and has a single peak body. It played a leading role in developing the RSE, and employs someone to promote it.

Third, the costs of regulatory compliance are also lower in New Zealand. Australia’s minimum wage is significantly higher than New Zealand’s, which creates a stronger incentive to avoid it.

Australia also has a weaker enforcement regime, making it less likely that you’ll be caught if you cheat. This is again due to the tyranny of size, but also because Australia has put less effort into developing a licensing regime for labour hire companies. This situation is now changing, which explains the growth of the SWP in recent years (as noted below).

Fourth, while Australia’s and New Zealand’s backpacker and seasonal worker schemes are very similar, there are subtle differences in their design, history and implementation, which have made a difference.

New Zealand introduced the RSE in 2007. At the time, Australia wasn’t prepared to follow suit. Instead, in response to farmers’ complaints about labour shortages, it introduced the second-year backpacker visa to funnel backpackers into agriculture in their first year with the offer of a second-year visa.

Finally, there is the simple fact that Australia simply attracts far more backpackers than New Zealand, making the potential pool of backpacker farm labour that much larger. In the 2017-18 financial year, Australia had 210,000 backpackers while New Zealand had only 70,000.

Source: asiancorrespondent.com via http://www.freshplaza.com


Publication date : 11/2/2018

Australia ratifies CPTPP

Joining five other nations, Australia’s commitment has triggered a 60-day countdown to tariff reductions
On 31 October, Australia became the sixth country to ratify its position in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11, and also known as the CPTPP).

Joining Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and Singapore in the first group to ratify the agreement means a majority sign-on triggers a 60-day countdown to the first round of tariff cuts.

The first tariff cuts under the agreement will enter into force on 30 December 2018. A second reduction will occur three days later on 1 January 2019.

For Australia, tariff reductions to Mexico are expected to benefit the horticulture sector, and the broader agriculture industry will see improved access.

Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, and Vietnam are also part of the agreement, but are yet to ratify their positions.

ExportNZ executive director Catherine Beard is pleased by the ratification and looming tariff reductions.

"CPTPP brings Japan, Canada and Mexico into a trade deal with New Zealand for the first time. These countries have large markets that will now become progressively open to New Zealand goods and services, improving New Zealand’s trade earnings,” she said.

"Other country members of CPTPP will now also offer terms of trade more favourable to New Zealand exports.”

The New Zealand government expects items like buttercup squash into Japan to become tariff-free; onions to Japan to have tariffs removed within the next six years; and tariffs in other countries to be eliminated on a number of items like cherries, radish, carrot seed, kiwifruit, and avocado.

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

PMA Research: Impact of Chinese Tariffs applied to US Fresh Fruit Exports

Overview of Chinese Tariffs


The People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) on March 23, 2018 announced a proposal to levy retaliatory tariffs impacting approximately $2.0 billion in U.S. food and agricultural exports to China in response to the recent U.S. 232 Trade Action on steel and aluminum.

Additional tariffs of 15 percent would be applied to exports of fruits, dried fruits and nuts (among other products) from the U.S. in retaliation for tariffs introduced by the United States. Chinese customs began levying these additional tariffs April 2, 2018.

 

Read the rest of the article here

China's currency value has dropped dramatically

China’s currency has been losing points, hitting its lowest level against the US dollar in a decade. The reason behind this slide isn’t because of manipulation by the People’s Bank of China. The reason the yuan is being dumped now is that investors are concerned about a trade war between America and China.

The trade war will probably ensure, as all trade wars do, that both sides will lose. Alas, the wider global economy will too, as orders are lost and consumers and businesses globally pay higher prices for goods and raw materials, or suffer from “dumping” of exports previously destined for America and which now need to be sold off in a hurry.

If president Trump’s response is to intensify his trade war with the China, he will set up a vicious downward cycle, and where that will end should worry people. And China has quite some weaponry in this scrap: it holds some $1.2 trillion worth of US government bonds. This is where they have stashed all those trade surpluses with the Americans built up over a quarter of a century, according to an article on independent.co.uk.

Imagine if China decided to dispose of them on the bond market. Huge disruption – and a worldwide economic shock. Or even to run them down in an orderly fashion. The result would be higher interest rates hitting the American economy, whether Trump likes it or not. It would choke off US growth, and maybe even push it into recession. The dollar would be devalued as never before – which would help the US trade position and exports, but would also prompt a surge in American inflation and a squeeze on living standards.


Publication date : 10/31/2018

NZ - Country of Origin labelling a step closer to law

Horticulture New Zealand is thrilled that mandatory Country of Origin labelling for fruit and vegetables got a step closer today, with the second reading of the Consumers’ Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Bill passing in Parliament.

"Our research showed that more than 70 percent of New Zealanders want mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) for fruit and vegetables, so it is great to see the Government continuing to listen to consumers by progressing this Bill," Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman says.

"This Bill has been a long time in the making and it underwent significant changes by the Primary Production Select Committee between its first reading and now. Ultimately, the outcome is what our growers want. That is, consumers can choose what to buy with full knowledge of where their fresh fruit and vegetables come from," Chapman says.

"Consumers want to be able to make choices based on their own beliefs and values. They may want to support local businesses, buy what is in season and grown locally, help keep and create jobs in their own area, or for that matter, buy products from other countries known for being the best at growing particular produce.

"We look forward to this passing into law, hopefully this year."

You can read the bill here.

For more information;
Josie Vidal
Horticulture New Zealand
Tel: +64 4470 5665
Mobile: +64 27 542 7475
www.hortnz.co.nz


Publication date : 10/18/2018

Source: www.freshplaza.com

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