California stone fruit: less but more optimally-sized fruit predicted

Thanks to some seasonal effects including freezes and rain, there are varied reports about how the California stone fruit crop looks this season.

“The overall prospects for stone fruit this year are of a good crop for most of the season,” says Ken Barbic Senior with The Fresh Connection based in Lafayette, Ca. “But the overall crop is also diminished because of a freeze we had. And some commodities such as plums had a little less fruit set due to cool or wet weather during pollination time.”

Commodity breakdown
Plums: “In general, they’ll be light,” says Barbic Sr. “They were also a bit light last year.” Despite the lessened supply, sizing of the fruit looks good. “We’re expecting demand to exceed supply,” adds Barbic Sr., which could mean higher prices and less price fluctuation. There are also a few new varieties of plums which should take the season all the way into December. The estimated start for plums this season is the last part of May, with good volume by mid June.

Nectarines: “Nectarines are also going to be a bit shorter than normal,” says Barbic Sr. “But toward the end of May, they should get back to regular levels.” The first of the crop, the Honey May Nectarines, began last week.

Peaches: Peaches began this week. “We should have plenty of peaches and nectarines once we get through the first few weeks of the season,” says Barbic Sr. He also adds that the Southern U.S. and other states have more normal crops this year compared to last year, which could make for a more competitive domestic peach market this season.

Apricots: “There are a few varieties of apricots with very little crop on them and others that have a more normal crop,” says Barbic Sr. “Overall the crop is light but there’s still plenty of fruit available.” In terms of timing, apricots got the latest start to the season by starting some five to seven days late compared to last year.

Cherries: Cherries also began harvesting last Friday, although the volume is starting small. The timing is similar to last year’s seasonal start.

Good sizing
Barbic Sr. adds that while the overall crop sizing may be down, it may make for better fruit. “Usually less on the tree means a better-sized fruit so the quality should be good and the sizing in the range customers are looking for, whether it’s for an export or domestic market,” says Barbic Sr. Less on the tree may also mean less pressure on labor. “Less labor may be needed to thin out the trees in order to get that optimum sizing,” adds Barbic Sr.

Meanwhile, what remains concerning for California growers is transportation. “This includes the availability and allocation of the truck supply and transporting via trucks from the West Coast to the East Coast,” notes Barbic Sr. (Late last year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ruled that trucks need to carry electronic logging devices or ELDs, a ruling which many growers say has had several financial repercussions.) “In many cases, it costs a lot more to bring a box of peaches from the West Coast to New York or Boston than it does to send a box of peaches to a place like Taiwan.”

For more information:
Ken Barbic Sr.
The Fresh Connection
Tel: +1 (925) 299-9939
ken@thefreshconnection.com
www.thefreshconnection.com


Publication date: 4/26/2018
Author: Astrid van den Broek
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com

Costa Group recognized for efforts in China

Costa Group has been announced as a finalist in the prestigious 25th Annual AustCham Westpac Australia-China Business Awards.

Nominated for the Business Excellence Award for Agriculture, Food & Beverage, Costa has been recognised for its operations in China with its focus on the development of large scale berry fruit (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) farms in Honghe and Xishuangbanna Yunnan Province.

Costa’s investment to date represents one of the largest by a foreign owned company in Chinese agriculture in recent years with land secured for further expansion as demand in the market grows.

Costa was nominated for the award due to the success of its agricultural developments in China based on a number of key factors including:
The introduction of high tech growing and management systems
Recognition of key national agricultural policies focusing on sustainable production and improvement in the economic and social well-being of the local population
A strong and harmonious working relationship with local authorities
Implementation of safe and healthy work practices


Paul Lai, Westpac’s Regional Head and Head of Corporate & Institutional Banking Greater China said, “Given its size and incredible pace of transformation, it’s fantastic to see these Australian businesses that have worked hard to get their China strategy right, reaping the rewards and propelling their business forward.”

The presentation of the 25th Annual AustCham Westpac Australia-China Business Awards is to be made at a Gala Dinner in Shanghai on Thursday 17th May.

For more information:
Costa Group
Business Support Centre
275 Robinsons Road, Ravenhall
VIC 3023
T: 03 8363 9000
info@costagroup.com.au
www.costagroup.com.au

Publication date: 4/23/2018

 

Source: www.freshplaza.com

Image from http://costagroup.com.au

Australian Hayward kiwi for the European market

The Australian kiwi has a relatively short but also very successful history: pampered by the many Australian sunshine hours, it offers a consistent taste thanks to its high sugar content. Seeka Australia is one of Australia's premier fruit production companies, in particular for the Hayward Kiwi.

Bratzler & Co. has been working for years on expanding and maintaining direct producer relations around the globe. Focusing on just a few exotics, the fruit trading company is, among other things, using these partnerships to consistently further its value-added chain. “Seeka operates in the Goulburn Valley, the so-called 'Fruit Bowl' of Australia," said Thorsten Blasius, Managing Director Bratzler & Co. “The conditions are ideal there - plenty of sun, high temperatures and good soil provide us with the high sugar content and the extraordinary quality of these kiwis. The supply capacities of our partner are unbeatable with regard to the Australian market.”


Direct relationships create more possibilities

For more than 10 years, Bratzler & Co. has maintained an intensive and cooperative trading relationship with its Australian kiwi supplier and it has been heavily involved in the successful marketing of this high-quality kiwi in Europe. Since the beginning of this cooperation, Bratzler & Co. has been the exclusive partner for the marketing of this product in Europe. According to Blasius, these direct relationships are becoming increasingly important, especially in the premium segment. “The trade demands taste sensations. But it also wants a consistent product. This is only possible if everything fits during the production and we know all the ins and outs. Then we can optimally prepare through logistics, storage and processing. This, in turn, is only worthwhile if the amounts of produce justify the effort.”

Blasius also appreciates the Australians’ style of collaborating - uncomplicated and flexible. For example, retailers in Europe have the opportunity to put their own brand names on the kiwi’s, because these are unwrapped goods. At the right purchasing quantities, the integration of their own packaging systems in the supply process is feasible without much trouble. "With Seeka in Australia we are working together with a fully industrialized nation at our own level - much more is possible than with some other suppliers." So Bratzler & Co. still sees many possibilities for their customers in Europe.

Consistent quality & measurable good results 

Why the combination of merchandise volumes and industrial standards plays an important role for Bratzler & Co. is also revealed in the self-image of the company. "We have not been just a dealer for a long time, we are acting along the entire value chain and that starts with working in the field." But we also do a lot when the goods arrive at our warehouses. It is invaluable when I find a consistent product - then dry matter, Brix value, strength and internal defects can be identified much more accurately, which is valuable for the overall delivery. With near-infrared light (NIR) and other non-traumatic analysis methods, we are able to effectively separate ripe and unripe fruits. This way we treat our fruit carefully and sustainably, ensuring excellent quality for delivery," says Blasius.

Deliveries from Australia are typically expected from mid-May, this year in calibres 27 (115-125g), 30 (105-115g) and 36 (85-95g). Large quantities of Australian origin reamin in the market up until September. For a while now, the Australian Haywards have made a considerable contribution to Bratzler & Co.’s ability to supply kiwi’s year-round. "And they are of a particularly high quality," says Blasius, who is already looking forward to the next innovation of his Australian partner. "This year we will already receive first KIWI GOLD batches from Seeka. Starting next year, larger quantities are expected." It is obviously a cooperation that bears fruit on both sides of the world.


High modern protection nets are available to kiwi producers

For more information:
Bratzler & Co. GmbH
Weinweg 43
76137 Karlsruhe
Tel.: +49 (0)721 . 96185 . 22
Fax: +49 (0)721 . 96185 . 99
Mail: AUS-Kiwi@bratzler.com

Publication date: 4/17/2018

Source: www.freshplaza.com 

‘Momentum building’ in Korean market for Australian table grapes, says ATGA

The Australian table grape industry is making good progress in the South Korean market, with the Taste Australia brand recently launched for the Oceanian country’s horticultural products.

Hort Innovation said that Hyundai, one of Korea’s largest luxury retail chains, is now stocking only Australian table grapes.

Hyundai representatives attended a trade seminar and networking lunch in Seoul which marketed the Australian grapes primarily sourced from Victoria.

Two major Korean table grape importers also departed for Australia to visit Victoria’s table grape growing regions to discuss sourcing exporters.

“The visiting importers toured a number of Victorian farms, viewing the high standard of food safety measures for which Australia is renowned, tasting produce and learning more about farm operations,” said Hort Innovation chief executive John Lloyd.

“Feedback from participating growers and the importers was fantastic. The exercise led to the broadening of lucrative trade opportunities and valuable relationships with key importers that we expect will last for many years to come”.

The success of the activities was put down to the collaborative efforts of the Australian Table Grape Association (ATGA), Austrade and Trade Victoria.

ATGA chief executive Jeff Scott said the feedback from the trade seminars was also extremely positive and Australian exporters welcomed the chance to meet with several leading fruit traders.

“Importers and exporters were eager to hear how the Australian season was shaping up. They wanted to know what they could expect to see in market as well as in in-store promotional activities,” he said.

This year is the fifth since the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement came into force and the tariff on Australian grapes was eliminated.

In 2016-17, South Korea mainly imported grapes from Chile, Peru and the U.S., with Australia being the only other exporter with just a 0.32% market share.

“South Korea is an exciting, emerging market with momentum building to increase trade,” Scott said.

www.freshfruitportal.com

Philippines launch of ‘Taste Australia’

‘Taste Australia’ is an innovative campaign to promote fresh Australian produce in the Philippines. It was launched this week at the Australian Embassy.

Filipinos are increasingly aware of Australian fruit and vegetables and demand for these product is on the rise. Australian fruit exports to the Philippines grew from A$ 500,000 (€315,000) in 2010 to A$ 20 million (€12.6 mln) in 2017.

The first Australian products to be promoted under the Taste Australia campaign are fresh Australian grapes which are in season from March until May. These will be available in leading retail stores such as Rustan’s Supermarkets, Shopwise, Robinsons, S&R and SM.

The Taste Australia event saw trend watcher Michelle Aventajado take charge of a cook-up between Bondi and Bourke’s Australian owner Chef Wade Watson and the Australian Ambassador’s official chef Edwin Ferrer.

Malaya.com.ph reports how the Taste Australia campaign is a unique collaboration between Hort Innovation, the Victorian Government and Austrade and is designed to help increase the profile, sales and consumption of premium fruit and vegetables in the Philippines.

Publication date: 4/13/2018
Source: www.freshplaza.com  

AQSIQ dismantled in Chinese government restructure

The notable changes in government have seen AQSIQ dismantled and merged into a new regulatory body
On 17 March China’s National People’s Congress approved the most comprehensive government restructure in nearly 50 years.

The new plan will be rolled out over the coming months, and includes the establishment of a State Market Regulatory Administration (SMRA).

The SMRA will acquire the responsibilities held by a number of individual government bodies as follows:

• State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC)
• General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ)
• Certification and Accreditation Administration (CAC)
• Standardization Administration of China (SAC)
• China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA)
• Price Supervision and Anti-Monopoly Bureau (NDRC)
• Anti-Monopoly Bureau of the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM)
• Anti-Monopoly Commission of the State Council
• State Intellectual Property Office (new)

As part of the restructure, the newly formed State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) will take on the task of regulating intellectual property rights, and be governed under the SMRA umbrella.

The CDFA body will be dismantled and reformed as the State Drug Administration (SDA) operating under the SMRA, and the SAIC and AQSIQ will also be dismantled and absorbed by the SMRA.

All other bodies will remain but have their functions merged into the SMRA. The Anti-Monopoly Commission, the CAC and the SAC will keep their offices despite the merge.

Ropes & Gray reported that Chinese officials have pinned the newly proposed SMRA as the single most powerful market regulator. It will address China’s concerns over product safety, regulation, compliance, intellectual property rights, and overall quality by through comprehensive management and supervision in these areas.

The SMRA will be led by the administration’s Communist Party secretary, and deputy director, Jingquan Bi (former director of the CFDA), alongside the administration’s deputy Communist Party secretary and director Mao Zhang (former director of the SAIC).

Communist Party Secretary Li Li (formerly deputy governor of Jiangxi Province) will lead the SDA, alongside director Hong Jiao (formerly deputy director of the CFDA).

Despite significant upper level appointments, the SMRA will not begin operations until mid-April, and will likely not reach full capacity until after June, according to Ropes & Gray.

The mergers give the SMRA more resources and enforcement tools to deal with unfair market behaviours, which in the past would be dealt with separately by either the NDRC or the SAIC. It runs in line with China’s efforts to improve market regulation and overall quality of life for its residents.

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

Author: Camellia Aebischer

 

"China enters a golden age of investment in Australian farms"

The AATI (Australia Agriculture Technology Investment Holding Pty. Ltd.) was established in November 2017. It is an Australian holding with a Chinese background that invests in Australian agricultural technology.

AATI has two main services:
1. The company introduces new product varieties and promotes plantation and retail. For example, the company promotes a new variety of French plums, Israeli citrus, and Japanese strawberries. The core of this service is to locate high-quality new product varieties worldwide, introduce them to Australian plantations, and then sell them to overseas markets. At the same time AATI seeks excellent vegetable and fruit products in China. AATI hopes to create brand awareness among Chinese consumers. AATI also provides off-season fruit.

2. The company purchases fruit farms to annex and integrate the industry. The AATI team believe that China will enter a golden age of investment in Australian farms, because bilateral agreements between the two countries have increased since November 2017 when China amended the rules for Australian cherry import. At the same time, China also opened up for import of Australian plums, wild peaches, and apricots.

There have been numerous Chinese companies in the last 10 years that have failed in their attempt to annex Australian agricultural companies.
The main reasons for their failure are as follows: 1) choice of farm; 2) regulations; 3) funding; and 4) localization of management

The shareholders of AATI include senior agricultural specialists and the company receives support from Australian specialists in agricultural technology. AATI also employs analysts with a deep understanding of the Chinese market demands to facilitate export to China. At the same time, AATI has extensive experience with Chinese online marketing channels, which makes AATI a low-risk investment.

David Yang
www.royalfresh.com.au
E-mail address: info@royalfresh.com.au

Publication date: 3/29/2018

Exporters in India expecting to send more mangoes to the USA

India is looking at a 40% increase in mango exports to the US during the current season. The export of the fruit is likely to start from the second half of April. In order to meet all standards, it is mandatory to irradiate mangoes before exporting then to countries such as the US and Australia.

The irradiation processes take place at three locations - Nashik-based Lasalgaon irradiation centre of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Vashi Irradiation centre of Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board in Mumbai and the Bengaluru irradiation centre.

Almost 90% irradiation of mangoes for exports to the US and Australia take place at the Lasalgaon and Mumbai irradiation plants. Last year, the country had exported 1,165 tonnes of mangoes irradiated at the Lasalgaon and Mumbai centres.

"This year, we are expecting close to 40% rise in export of mangoes to both the countries. This means that we are expecting mango export of 1,500 tonnes to those two overseas countries this season," a source told timesofindia.indiatimes.com.

"We are expecting a quarantine inspector from the US by mid-April for inspection during the export season. Mango export to the US will begin around two-three days after this person starts inspection work here," an official from the Lasalgaon facility said.



Publication date: 3/27/2018

Source: www.freshplaza.com

Australian import industry squeezed

Government changes to pre-clearance inspections are having harsh effects on Australian importers.

The Overseas Pre-clearance Inspection (OPI) scheme, offered through Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) since 2001, is about to disappear.

The government department made a decision to eliminate the program in 2016 meaning importers will have to inspect and clear fruit for arrival onshore in Australia.

Previously, Australia appointed inspectors who travel to selected ports overseas to pre-clear produce as it meets phytosanitary approvals. Now, the number of inspectors is being reduced and moved back home.

A spokesperson from the DAWR told Asiafruit that the program is being phased out because on-arrival inspection provides greater opportunities for the DAWR to drive compliance and better allocate resources according to biosecurity risk.

Industry representatives are not convinced.

A member of the Australian Horticultural Exporters and Importers Association (AHEIA) told Asiafruit that wait times for onshore clearance are sitting at around 7 or 8 days, adding an extra week to their pre-order schedule.

“The retailers don’t want to hear ‘I’m sorry but we can’t get an inspection for your program,’” they said.

Industry sources told Asiafruit that Australia’s import sector is not only concerned about their business and relationships, but the flow-on effect for export deals.

“We know that in the past several of our neighbours have used non-phytosanitary issues to restrict fruit imports,” said Neil Barker, CEO at BGP International. “When they see how effective the DAWR protectionist policy has been I have no doubt they will consider adopting the policy. If an Australian grape shipment to Jakarta airport regularly spent seven days in the cargo terminal waiting for an inspection my guess is that the trade would stop.”

Dominic Jenkin, CEO of the AHEIA explained that when inspectors are placed overseas they’re able to approve produce more efficiently as multiple orders might be stationed in a single location at a major port; last year the programme operated across 75,000 tonnes of fresh fruit imports from New Zealand and the US.

The program was offered to a handful of countries, which has dwindled over the years. Currently availability is only for the USA and New Zealand on selected fruit and veg.

The DAWR said that the removal of OPI does not impact on the number of inspectors available to the department.

However, in Australia, inspectors are having to travel much longer distances between warehouses to inspect and approve. Because of the delays, importers are also having to absorb the cost and losses from shortened shelf life and storage fees to hold sealed containers while they wait for a scheduled inspector.

To curb the problem, the DAWR decided to implement a Compliance-Based Inspection (CBI) scheme last year, which was piloted during the New Zealand avocado season.

The CBI scheme means that if a product reaches a certain number of approved inspections (for avocados it’s five in a row), they will then move to a reduced inspection rate (again for avocados, inspections will reduce to one in four shipments).

“The new scheme was intended to reward importers who could achieve a good compliance history with decreased inspection rates and faster entry. To date, no importers have achieved these reduced inspection rates,” New Zealand Avocados told Asiafruit in a statement.

“An overriding reason is the difficulty of accurately identifying often globally distributed organisms (and their eggs), down to a taxonomic level to confirm they are not of quarantine concern,” they said.

The same issue appeared in 2016 when lemons and limes from the US were subject to the trial and saw backlogs of up to ten days.

While experiencing setbacks in gaining approval, a lot of the annoyance over changes stems from the where funding of the inspection program comes from.

“The frustrating thing is that it’s industry funded. So, most of the time the limitation is cost for government processes, but this is definitely not a case of that. The industry has never said ‘we’re not willing to pay for this,’” said the anonymous AHEIA member.

The DAWR sad it’s working closely with industry and trading partners to optimise compliance and minimise any disruption, while facilitating safe trade.

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

Author: Camellia Aebischer

Australia: ATGA hails progress in Japanese, South Korean table grape markets

The Australian Table Grape Association (ATGA) says that promotional visits to Japan and South Korea have created new opportunities for the country’s exporters.

Japanese and South Korean importers, retailers and food service representatives were recently given important pre-season information at trade seminars help in Osaka and Seoul, it said.

“Following the trade seminar in Seoul, two major Korean table grape importers departed for Australia and visited Victoria’s table grape growing regions to source fruit,” ATGA chief executive Jeff Scott said.

The association said this progress was in part thanks to recent collaboration with Hort Innovation, Austrade Japan and Trade Victoria.

Scott said that the number of containers exported to Korea has already surpassed last year’s total.

“We know the fruit quality is very high this year and that new varieties are in demand,” he said.

He said that trade seminar feedback had been very positive and that “importers and retailers were eager to hear how the Australian season was shaping up”.

Scott also explained that South Korea was an emerging market for Australian table grapes with a potential to keep building momentum, while Japan is already an important export market, with exports valued over AUD$29 million last year.

www.freshfruitportal.com

 

Fruit trade could be caught up in trade war

Peak bodies warn proposed tariffs on Chinese products could come back to bite US suppliers

Industry bodies in the US have raised concerns over what proposed tariffs on Chinese imports could mean for their own trade to the People’s Republic.

US President Donald Trump has suggested US$60bn in annual tariffs could be imposed on over 1,300 Chinese products bound for the North American nation. The move comes in retaliation to allegations of intellectual property theft and the desire to boost local employment in the US.

Speaking with the Yakima Herald, Mark Powers, president of the Northwest Horticultural Council, asked what the outcomes would be for US fruit growers and exporters.

“The question is, how does China react?” Powers said. “For us, China is an important export market.”

China is the largest importer of cherries from Washington State, taking 3m cartons in 2017, while it is also a top five market for the state’s apple suppliers.

Should Trump’s proposal come to fruition, economic experts expect China to impose their own tariffs on US products. Fresh produce products would be a prime candidate for such action based on their contribution to the US economy, according to Washington Apple Commission president Todd Fryhover, who was also interviewed by the Yakima Herald.

Fryhover said the apple industry was keen to avoid a repeat of a similar scenario in 2010, which saw Mexico impose a 20 per cent tariff on Washington apples following a dispute relating to trucking.

“We often see ourselves in the apple industry as being collateral damage,” Fryhover told the Yakima Herald.