Apple and Pear

USDA to purchase US$500M of produce as part of trade war assistance

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says it will purchase more than US$200 million of apples and cherries as part of its assistance programs to growers impacted by tariffs implemented by countries like China.

A total of a little more than US$500 million will be spent on fruits, vegetables and tree nuts under the Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) Food Purchase and Distribution Program, which has a total budget of US$1.2 billion.

The Food Purchase and Distribution Program is one of three programs – along with the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) and the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) – with a total value of US$12 billion recently announced for farmers affected by “unjustified retaliation by foreign nations.”

China has implemented heavy tariffs on all U.S. agricultural exports, while Mexico has set duties for imports of some fruits including apples.

The amounts of commodities to be purchased through the AMS program are based on “an economic analysis of the damage caused by unjustified tariffs imposed on the crops listed below,” the USDA said.

“Their damages will be adjusted based on several factors and spread over several months in response to orders placed by states participating in the FNS nutrition assistance programs,” it said.

The USDA has set aside US$111.5 million for sweet cherries, US$93.4 million for apples, US$85.2 million for pistachios, US$63.3 million for almonds US$55.6 for fresh oranges, US$48.2 million for grapes, US$44.5 million for potatoes, US$34.6 million for walnuts and US$32.8 million for cranberries.

For cherries and almonds, the USDA said the program details are yet to be defined, and these two commodities were not included in the program’s US$1.2 billion budget.

For fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, assistance was also announced for apricots, blueberries, figs, grapefruit, hazelnuts, kidney beans, lemons/limes, Macadamia nuts, Navy beans, orange juice, pears, peas, pecans, plums/prunes, strawberries and sweetcorn.

“Early on, the President instructed me, as Secretary of Agriculture, to make sure our farmers did not bear the brunt of unfair retaliatory tariffs,” said Perdue.

Perdue said that after careful analysis, this strategy has been formulated to mitigate the trade damages sustained by farmers.

“President Trump has been standing up to China and other nations, sending the clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate their unfair trade practices, which include non-tariff trade barriers and the theft of intellectual property,” he said.

“In short, the President has taken action to benefit all sectors of the American economy – including agriculture – in the long run.

“It’s important to note all of this could go away tomorrow, if China and the other nations simply correct their behavior. But in the meantime, the programs we are announcing today buys time for the President to strike long-lasting trade deals to benefit our entire economy.”

Click here to view the USDA press release.



Produce in firing line as US sparks trade war

The EU, Canada and Mexico consider retaliatory measures in response to US tariffs on steel and aluminium imports
The US has announced the imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico, prompting fears of a protracted and damaging trade war.

Almost immediately after president Donald Trump’s announcement, the Mexican government issued a statement announcing that it would impose equivalent measures on various US imports including apples, table grapes and cranberries.

The measures would remain in effect until the US government eliminated the import tariffs, the Ministry for the Economy said.

The latest trade data available from ITC suggests that, of the three products, the US apple export trade would stand to lose the most from a Mexican tariff hike.

Mexico is by far the largest importer of US apples, with sales worth US$276.5m last year, compared with US$174.3m in Canada and US$97.4m in India.

Mark Powers, president of the Yakima, Washington-based Northwest Horticultural Council, said the move was expected to cause substantial damage to the industry.

Mexico is the third major market to impose tariffs on Washington apples as a result of US trade policy on steel and aluminium this year.

Last week, India announced plans to put a 30 per cent retaliatory tariff on US apples – on top of the 50 per cent tariff that they are already subjected to, while in China US fruit imports have faced a 15 per cent hike in tariffs since 2 April.

Sales of US fresh apples to Mexico may have declined slightly in recent years, but last year they were 21 per cent up on the previous campaign.

Meanwhile, fresh cranberry exporters in the US have seen the value of their business in Mexico increase considerably over the past few years, albeit from a low starting point. According to ITC, Mexican import sales rose by 30 per cent to just under US$1.27m between 2013 and 2017.

As for table grapes, the value of US sales to Mexico fell by 2 per cent to US$97.2m during 2013-2017, although ITC noted a 26 per cent increase in 2017 compared with the previous campaign.

WTO case opened

The EU, meanwhile, has confirmed it is opening a case at the World Trade Organisation in response to the new US duties, with EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström expected to announce retaliatory "proportionate" tariffs on US exports including cranberries "in accordance with WTO rules".

Federica Mogherini, the EU high representative on foreign policy, told journalists: "The European Union will today proceed with the WTO dispute settlement case adding those additional duties on a number of imports from the United States. The European Union measures will be reasonable, proportionate and in full compliance with WTO rules and obligations.”

The decision by the White House was dubbed “patently absurd” by the UK’s international trade secretary, Liam Fox, who suggested the UK would be prepared for “tit-for-tat” moves. “We absolutely do not rule out counter measures,” he asserted.

When the initial threat of tariffs was raised by the US back in March, the EU pledged to retaliate with tariffs on American imports such as orange juice, cranberries and bourbon.

“Logically, these unilateral measures on steel and aluminium will lead to multiple counter reactions around the world, and for sure they will be challenged within the WTO,” said Philippe Binard, general delegate of European fresh produce association Freshfel Europe.

“The EU has already published a list of potential retaliatory measures that will be effective from 18 June, including on orange juice, cranberry juice and sweet corn. Elsewhere in the world, retaliatory measures may include increased taxes on US fresh fruit and vegetables.”

The question, according to Binard, is whether or not the US will remove its measures on steel and aluminium in order to avoid triggering such a response.

Additional reporting by Mike Knowles and Maura Maxwell


Author: Tom Joyce

Seeka's Australian operations growing by the year

Continued investment in orchards, and post-harvest infrastructure with a focus on producing a better quality product has helped Seeka Australia create strong demand for its kiwifruit.

Seeka Australia commenced harvest and packing for its green kiwifruit season in early April, and Sales Manager Cameron Carter says it has been going well, with good volumes of kiwifruit been picked, packed and dispatched for customers.

"The growing period has seen plentiful amounts of sunshine, with minimal rainfall," he said. "While our forecasted volume for the season is down slightly from last year, we still have a good crop ahead of us. The taste of the fruit is exceptional, and it has been a very good kiwifruit vintage year in Australia."

Mr Carter added demand is strong because Seeka has focused on presenting and delivering our consumers a better quality fruit.

"The market has responded to the better Seeka quality with more demand and Seeka has invested in additional orchards to meet that demand," he said. "The team at Seeka Australia works tirelessly in growing, harvesting, packing and distributing its produce, providing a fully integrated orchard to market service, to ensure we are the best in class, delivering on our company vision of being Australia’s premier produce company."

The bulk of Seeka's current production in Australia is centred around Hayward green kiwifruit, with only trial areas of new varieties.

"There are of course a range of other kiwifruit varieties becoming available in Australia," Mr Carter said. "Seeka is evaluating new varieties in all categories that we grow including nashi and European pears. There are exciting prospects."

Seeka's main market for our Australian kiwifruit is domestic sales, with the company realising it needs to invest in additional capacity to meet the increased supply and demand, but it is not quite at that point.

"In the meantime we have initiated an expanded export program to match the crop to capacity and the exported fruit to existing customers have gone extremely well," Mr Carter said. "We are always looking at and thoroughly exploring any opportunities that present themselves and fall within our overall strategy."

The company's nashi pear harvest ran from January to March this year, and Mr Carter has praised his team for growing and harvesting one of the best crops the company has ever seen from these orchards, both in volume and quality.

"Every crop we grow, including our nashi pears, are grown across our seven orchards in Bunbartha, 15 minutes’ drive from Shepparton, and part of the Goulburn Valley, often referred to as the ‘Fruit Bowl’ of Australia," he said. "Demand for nashi pears, is stable, with the majority of what we grow servicing our local retail and wholesale customers."

For more information:
Cameron Carter
Seeka Australia
Phone: +61 428 427 459
Publication date: 4/26/2018
Author: Matthew Russell

Kiwfruit harvest kicks off after good kiwiberry and avocado seasons

The New Zealand kiwifruit harvest is commencing today at produce company, Seeka. It has just completed its Nashi and Packham pear harvests in Australia and avocado and kiwiberry harvests in New Zealand.

2018 has seen unsettled weather in New Zealand already with ex-tropical cyclone Gita having impacted in New Zealand's South Island and it was feared that the remnants of tropical cyclone Hola may have hit the Te Puke area on Monday, but the storm drifted to the east of the country. MetService said it would bring a short spell of wind, rain and larger swells, with possible severe weather in places. Now there is a new Cyclone Linda brewing in the Coral Sea in New Caledonia.

Michael Franks said that Seeka are ready to go with the new kiwifruit harvest. "We are at the end of a very good kiwiberry harvest, and having completed Seeka’s most successful avocado season ever. In the kiwiberry space around 1605 bins have been processed across Seeka’s new kiwiberry processing plant – a converted cherry grader. The machine has commissioned well, and provided Seeka and its growers with 5 times the capacity to pack. Its delivered a significantly better risk profile for our growers, particularly with the unsettled weather pattern. This is well up on last year’s approximate 1297 bins processed at Seeka. The first kiwifruit are now ready for harvest. The weather during the kiwifruit growing season has been very unsettled with less than ideal amounts of sunshine punctuated with heavy rain. The result is a very large size profile. Dry matters are comparatively low and we are closely monitoring the fruit to get it harvested when the criteria is achieved."

Last year Hayward [green] yields were low with big sizes, this season's yields are expected to be more normal and Seeka are expecting to pack between 29 million and 30 million trays, compared to last year's 25.5 million.

Seeka is currently recruiting for the season but there doesn't seem to be the usual numbers of backpackers registering as in previous years. This is a new phenomenon in New Zealand and in the Hawkes Bay, the apple packers are at crisis levels. "The labour situation is always a bit confused at this time of the year," according to Franks. "People sign up to three or four packhouses in the region and will go to the place that starts packing first, so it is hard to get a handle on the overall situation right now. The numbers seem ok but we are unsure about how it will pan out. Seeka does have innovative programs underway with Government departments to encourage out of region New Zealanders to work at Seeka including subsidised transport and specialist training. We also have our overseas workforces coming in
which we use to complement the local kiwi workers."

Seeka have two packhouses with Near-Infrared technology in the lines which scans fruit to measure dry matter levels. The gold kiwifruit must reach a certain threshold to be classed as Zespri class I fruit for export. The technology tries to segregate the specific sized fruit to ensure that the dry matter levels are sufficient to meet customer's demands. Once packed the fruit is rechecked to ensure it is at the level.

"Its tricky technology to employ, and as the fruit matures and the harvest continues the cameras and technology needs recalibrated. It is time consuming at a time when we are very busy. It is not possible to take the machine down for a whole day for recalibration. The whole process is expensive to the point where its economic benefits are marginal, but we do it because the market and growers expect it of us," said Franks.

"We anticipate a better crop volumes this season, up 4.5million trays on last year. Hayward will be better so we are expecting around 18 million conventional and organic trays and also a lift in the Sungold fruit, but we are conscious that it does have lower dry matter," stated Franks.

Meanwhile at Seeka Australia the financial performance last year was up significantly, mainly due to a very good kiwifruit harvest, but according to Franks, there is still room to improve. The focus in on production to get all varieties performing at their optimum. Last year the Nashi volume was down but they are predicting a bumper crop this year across all varieties. Seeka Australia has experienced unprecedented export demand for its kiwifruit. The orchards, while in a difficult growing environment, produce fruit of excellent taste and quality. The combination of high temperatures, high sunlight hours and strict quality standards has delivered an excellent kiwifruit, according to Franks. Export volumes are expected to surge by 60% with Seeka continuing to market through its dedicated European customers.

Seeka continues to invest; it is developing 60 hectares of new kiwifruit orchards as well as new pear varieties. The company has deployed new high-brix high yielding pears focused on its key Australian customers. These new exciting pears are intended to meet growing market demand and replace commodity pears.

For more information:
Michael Franks
Tel: +64 21 356 516

Article and Image Source:


Publication date: 3/14/2018
Author: Nichola McGregor

Australian pomefruit volumes tipped to rise

Forecast suggests overall crop will increase year-on-year on the back of improved pear harvest
Australian pomefruit production is tipped to rise in 2018, although the packout of Class 1 apples will be noticeably down on last year.

The Apple and Pear Crop Estimate, prepared by consultants AgFirst, has forecast an overall crop of 413,082 tonnes, up on the 400,902 tonnes recorded in 2017.

Apple production for 2018 is estimated at 296,941 tonnes, a marginal 1 per cent decline year-on-year. However, the Class 1 packout volume is expected to recede by 7 per cent compared with last year.

“The higher the Class 1 packout percentage, the higher the revenue to growers,” Angus Crawford, technical manager of Apple and Pear Australia (APAL), said in an article on the industry body’s website.

Across Australian orchards, an average of 67 per cent of apples are expected to be classified as Class 1 this season, down from 72 per cent in 2017.

APAL has pointed to hail damage on orchards in the Adelaide Hills last October as a key reason for the drop off in Class 1 volumes. Over 90 per cent of the region’s area was hit in some way by the deluge, with an estimated 70 per cent of the apple crop impacted to some degree.

“While the losses are quite severe, of this 70pc affected it is believed almost half could be salvageable and go into either class 1 or class 2 specifications depending on what finally gets picked and packed, and also on whether retailers allow levels of tolerance for damaged fruit,” Crawford explained.

Other growing regions such as the Goulburn Valley, Southern Victoria, Batlow, Queensland and Tasmania have also experienced hail, however, Crawford said these were not regarded significantly above the norm when it came to determining the overall estimate.

In a positive sign for the country’s pear growers, production is forecast to rise to 116,141 tonnes in 2018, up 14 per cent year-on-year, with a 20 per cent increase in Class 1 packouts.

“The important factor contributing to the pear result is the full crop of Packham and Buerré Bosc pears compared with last year,” Crawford noted.

Source: Author: Matthew Jones

Australian pome fruit promoted in Dubai

There was excellent promotion of Australian apples and pears at the ‘Taste Australia’ stand at the Middle East’s leading fresh produce trade event – World of Perishables – held in Dubai, from 5 to 7 December.

Promoting Australian apples and pears: APAL’s Andrew Mandemaker at the ‘Taste Australia’ stand at World of Perishables, Dubai, UAE.

‘Taste Australia’ is an initiative of Hort Innovation, focused on in-market export activity to help promote premium Australian produce in current and future markets. It is part of a broader trade push by Hort Innovation to significantly grow Australian horticultural exports by 2025.

Attending the event was APAL’s Quality Project Manager Andrew Mandemaker who represented industry and helped promote Australian apples and pears at the event to importers, traders and supermarkets from the Middle East.

“Export opportunities exist in these new markets, especially for premium quality branded apples and pears,” said Mandemaker.

According to APAL, they are committed to promoting exports of apples and pears in new markets like the Middle East, a strategy in line with the Apple & Pear Industry Export Development Strategy released in August this year.

Publication date: 12/14/2017


Australian apples on premium path in China

Industry body gauges interest for mainland fruit as offering becomes top priority on access list

The head of Australia’s peak apple industry body is confident fruit from the country’s mainland will enter China as a premium product once access is granted.

Phil Turnbull, chief executive of Apple and Pear Australia (APAL), visited the People’s Republic last month to represent the industry under the Taste Australia stand at the China Fruit & Vegetable Fair.

Joined by APAL’s director of global development, Andrew Hooke, and quality project manager, Andrew Mandemaker, Turnbull also held meetings with officials from the China Entry Exit Inspection and Quarantine Association (CIQA) and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine(AQSIQ) regarding market access for mainland apples.

The trio also met with executives at e-commerce giant, where they discussed the potential to build on existing programmes for Australian apples in China, which are currently being delivered solely by suppliers from the island state of Tasmania.

“As our discussions progressed, it became apparent that Chinese consumers are developing a taste for premium, quality, Australian apples from Tasmania,” Turnbull said in an article published on APAL’s website.

“If we can build on this demand, through forming relationships with retailers, there’s a strong likelihood that mainland Australian apples will also enter the market as a premium product once access negotiations are complete.”

Turnbull said mainland suppliers would initially focus on servicing Tier 1 cities with branded products.

With Chinese officials agreeing to protocols for a number of Australian stonefruit categories late last month, mainland apples now move to the top of the market access priority list, under a two and two agreement signed between the two countries.

Aiding the cause, representatives from China’s Ministry of Commerce visited APAL’s office late last month to gain a better understanding about Australian food safety and traceability standards.

“The delegation was keen to understand how the quality of our fruit is protected and maintained from the orchard through the entire supply chain,” explained Hooke.

APAL executives were also keen to discuss the importance of protecting importers’ rights in relation to intellectual property and brand in China.

Source: Author: Matthew Jones

Cherry farmers face losing half their crop to wet weather in lead up to Christmas

Less than a month from Christmas, cherry farmers are facing the prospect of losing up to half their crop to wet weather, threatening price rises for the stone fruit this festive season.

The prolonged rainfall in recent days has come at the worst possible time for the nation's cherry producers, putting early harvesting on hold in some orchards and delivering heartbreak to others.

Downpours can soften and split cherries, making them unsellable, and some farmers in the Orange region are using tractor-mounted air blowers and even helicopters to try to dry orchards, Adam Coleman from the NSW Department of Primary Industries said.

While the scale of crop loss is currently unknown, some growers say it could cause fruit prices to increase heading into the festive Christmas period.

"If there are widespread losses and demand kicks up, we might see prices move a little bit in the upward direction," Cherry Growers Australia president Tom Eastlake said.

"But at the moment it is still a big crop."

A bumper crop was forecast this season with early outlooks suggesting the 2017-18 crop could surpass 16,000 tonnes — to set a new industry record.

But Mr Eastlake said thanks to the rain some growers could have to leave more than half of their crop on the trees.

"It is heartbreaking, it absolutely can crush you in terms of looking at what you won't pick," he said. "We may see growers that are packing 50 per cent and 40 per cent and when that happens you lose your profit margin."

At Young, the self-titled "undisputed cherry capital of Australia", harvesting was less than halfway through before the wash out in recent days.

The Bureau of Meteorology recorded 84 millimetres of rain in Young between Friday morning and Sunday night — the same weekend the town hosted the annual National Cherry Festival.

"I have received about a quarter of our annual rainfall in the last 48 hours," Mr Eastlake said.

Further north at Orange the bureau recorded 64mm between Friday morning and Sunday night.

At Batlow, apple grower Barney Hyams said he stopped growing stone fruit in 1999 after "complete and utter wipe-outs" saw him lose his entire crop in two days.

Mr Hyams said he felt a lot of empathy for growers who might find the majority of their crop has been damaged when picking resumes.

"It means that they've lost their income for the year in some cases — it's a lot of hard work and heartbreak," he said.

Batlow usually receives more rainfall than Young which makes it less desirable for cherry growers.

But Ralph Wilson has persisted for the past three decades, growing both apples and cherries at orchards in Batlow.

He said his orchard has 15 pickers due to start in the second week of December.

Mr Wilson said the full impact of the rainfall was not yet clear, but having measured 80 millimetres of rain over the weekend it is likely the first variety of cherries will split.

"The cost of growing cherries is going up all the time and to lose a crop is pretty horrendous," he said.

'Silver lining' with major new export market in Vietnam

Young farmer Trevor Hall said it was not all bleak for the industry, with the reopening of the Vietnam market to exports after a new treatment for the Queensland fruit fly.

"It is a win for the Australian cherry industry because Vietnam is a very strong market for cherries," Mr Hall said.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries said a total of about 100 pallets of cherries have been exported from NSW and Victoria to Vietnam already this season.

"It is certainly a silver lining, there's an opportunity to off-load high quality fruit into those markets," Mr Coleman said.
Mr Coleman said new export access to the coveted China market was also expected to open up for mainland cherry growers before the end of the 2017-18 Australian cherry harvest.

The Chinese market agreed to accept NSW fruit under new treatment protocols for the Queensland fruit fly and industry and the government are working to finalise an arrangement and confirm a commencement date.

Source:    By Adrienne Francis and Antigone Anagnostellis

Market access into China is a key part of the agenda

During a recent trip to China, APAL representatives met with senior government officials, significant retailers and other high-level influencers to discuss market access and the Australian apple industry.

APAL CEO, Phil Turnbull; Director Global Development, Andrew Hooke; and Quality Project Manager, Andrew Mandemaker travelled to represent the Australian apple and pear industry on the Taste Australia stand at the China Fruit & Vegetable Fair (China FVF), 3-5 November.

“Participation at China FVF provides important access to Chinese decision makers and an opportunity for the Australian industry to show its interest and support for the Chinese market and put on display our export potential,” Phil explained. “While we were there, we had the opportunity to engage key Chinese government and non-government decision makers involved in making access-related decisions. This is really timely for the apple industry as we’re next in line for market access negotiations.”

During their visit, the trio met with officials from the China Entry Exit Inspection and Quarantine Association (CIQA) and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) – the two organisations responsible for setting and implementing market access policy.

Other key stakeholder meetings led by APAL were held with senior Australian Department of Agriculture and Austrade officials based at the Australian Embassy in Beijing.

In addition to the government related discussions, the APAL team met with senior executives at e-commerce giant to gain a better understanding of the opportunity for export in China.

“As our discussions progressed, it became apparent that Chinese consumers are developing a taste for premium, quality, Australian apples from Tasmania. If we can build on this demand, through forming relationships with retailers, there’s a strong likelihood that mainland Australian apples will also enter the market as a premium product once access negotiations are complete,” Phil said.

“As we’ve recently highlighted, export is a key priority for the Australian apple and pear industry. Discussion during our meetings supported the Export Development Strategy findings that China is a market for premium, imported produce of a high quality. Our initial focus will be to supply Tier 1 cities, leading with branded product.”

Subsequent to the visits in China, representatives from the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China visited the APAL office last week to gain a better understanding around quality and the capability of Australian industry around food safety and traceability.

“The delegation was keen to understand how the quality of our fruit is protected and maintained from the orchard through the entire supply chain,” explained Andrew Hooke.

They also discussed the importance of protecting importers’ rights in relation to intellectual property and brand in China, and noted that the division enforcing trademark protection reports to the Ministry of Commerce. “We raised our concern around brand and tree protection for Pink Lady apples and they indicated there would be support in protecting Australian apple and pear brands against counterfeiting,” Andrew said.

Some of the key Chinese retailers from China FVF will also be visiting Australia later this month and follow-up meetings have been arranged at the APAL office. “There was a very positive tone set during the event,” said Phil. “Ms Lou Junwen from AQSIQ made a point of attending our stand to confirm the commitment towards strengthening relationships and developing trade opportunities between Australia and China, and of course our attendance at the event next year.”

Taste Australia is an initiative by Horticulture Innovation Australia to significantly grow exports by 2025. Previously, APAL has attended China FVF under the Australia Fresh banner.


For more information:

Publication date: 11/30/2017

APAL welcomes priority for mainland Australian apples in China

Apple and Pear Australia Ltd (APAL) has praised the Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce’s announcement of a ‘two and two’ agreement with China to prioritize export access for Australian mainland apples, followed by blueberries.

The agreement succeeds the earlier four and four agreement struck in 2006 under which Australia sought access for table grapes, cherries, summerfruit and apples.

Mainland apples will transition to the new agreement and will be discussed alongside China’s bid to seek Australia market access for cherries.

APAL highlighted Tasmanian Tiger Fuji apples were already being exported successfully to the Chinese market.

APAL CEO Phil Turnbull said Australian growers had been waiting patiently since their inclusion in the original agreement in 2006 and were keen to start working with Chinese authorities to bring Australian apples to Chinese consumers

“While every industry wants their fruit to be first in line, we respect the process in place and have waited for our turn. We are pleased to see our position as next in line confirmed,” Turnbull said.

“Export is a key priority for the apple and pear industry. Tasmanian growers are already exporting apples into China and mainland exporters are looking forward to developing protocols to enable them to do so as well,” he said.

“Australia growers are among the world’s best, producing top quality apples in clean, green surroundings with rigorous attention to food standards. Chinese companies are buying into our orchards to source Australian fruit and we know there are plenty of Chinese consumers who would like access to Australian apples.”

The executive highlighted APAL had released its new Apple & Pear Industry Export Development Strategy, which sets the target of exporting 10% of production by 2020.

“We look forward to ensuring that Chinese consumers have the opportunity to be part of that plan,” Turnbull said.

There is no set timeline for when this will occur, but negotiations around access for additional summerfruit varieties are reportedly well advanced and the department is hopeful of an outcome in the near term.

China agreement delivers for Australian horticulture - Media Release

Australia and China transitioning to a new two and two agreement that includes Australian apples and blueberries as future market access priorities

The new agreement will progress market access and support the trade relationship between Australia and China

Australia and China have agreed to new horticulture market access priorities that will allow future exports of Australian blueberries to China. The inclusion of blueberries on the priority list will progress after the existing access priority of mainland apples.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the agreement will improve Australia’s horticultural market access and support the trade relationship between the two countries. “The Coalition Government has worked closely with China to progress our horticulture market access priorities and through the new two and two agreement we are focusing our efforts on access for mainland apples, followed by Australian blueberries,” Minister Joyce said.
“The new agreement will commence following completion of summerfruit protocols under the previous four and four agreement.
“Technical market access negotiations are scientifically complex and do take time, as each country looks to safeguard its national biosecurity interests and food safety standards.”

In 2006, Australia and China agreed to prioritise negotiations by considering each other's top four horticulture market access requests through a ‘four and four’ agreement, which has provided agricultural trade benefits for both countries.
Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Luke Hartsuyker, said the new agreement will build on market access achievements delivered under the previous four and four agreement. “The previous agreement supported access for Australian table grapes, and cherries, with nectarines completed and progress being made on access for other summerfruits—peaches, plums and apricots,” Minister Hartsuyker said.
“We currently export blueberries to almost 20 countries and the new agreement provides a significant opportunity for the Australian industry to access another valuable market.
“Identifying and making use of these new opportunities will help support the ongoing productivity and profitability of the Australian blueberry industry.”

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, said China is one of Australia’s most important trading partners and this is welcome news for our blueberry and apple industries, as well as our $9 billion horticulture industry as a whole.
“As a trading nation that has developed to supply food and fibre to global markets, exports underpin our national economy and the profitability of our agriculture sector.”

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources will work closely with the Australian apple and blueberry industries to guide and inform its work in preparing for market access submissions to China.

Fast facts
- Australia’s agricultural exports to China was worth over A$10 billion in calendar year 2016.

- Australia exported A$8.9 million worth of blueberries to all destinations and A$4.4 million to Hong Kong in calendar year 2016.

- In 2006, Australia and China agreed to consider each other's top four horticulture market access requests concurrently through a ‘four and four’ agreement.

- Australian commodities covered under this agreement are table grapes, cherries, summerfruit and apples.

- China market access for Australian cherries was gained in 2013, nectarines in 2016 and access for other summerfruits - peaches, plums and apricots - is currently being negotiated.

- The Coalition Government successfully negotiated market access for Australian blueberries to India in September 2015.

Table-grape, apple and cherry exports drop by up to 34%

While many horticulture crops have sectors have seen growth, others have not been so fortunate in the first quarter of this year. A report released by Euromonitor International last week found table-grape ­exports dropped 34 percent in the first quarter. Cherries, apples and pears also saw a drop of 33%.

The Australian Table Grape Association said earlier this year that harvest was delayed by three to four weeks due to poor seasonal conditions. The industry exports about 60 per cent of its crop with the remaining 40 per cent consumed domestically.

The report found from January to March, Australian table-grape exports dropped to all markets, except for China.

Despite the decline in cherry exports, the report found exports to the United Arab Emirates ­increased in terms of value. This was due to strong cherry prices.

“The price of cherries to the UAE rose strongly, ­reflecting a price point of $12.80 per kg in the first quarter compared with $8.20 per kg in the first quarter of last year,” the report said.

The Australian cherry ­industry aims to lift exports to 12,000 tonnes by 2020-21, which would be an increase of more than 340 per cent in comparison with 2015 export volumes.

source: via

Publication date: 7/13/2017


  • 1
  • 2