Australian nectarines “100% improved on last year” for second Chinese campaign

After a frustrating debut last year, lessons have been learned and growing conditions have been in the Australian industry’s favor for the current season.

While fruit import demand has softened in China with an “excessive amount” of Chilean cherry arrivals, Summerfruit Australia CEO John Moore says his country’s nectarines have been achieving “better than satisfactory” results on the market floor and gaining acceptance at retail.

Last season cold and wet weather led to a deterioration of fruit quality for Australia’s nectarine crop. While many exporters showed restraint, the actions of a few meant there was still Aussie fruit floating around in China with very low levels of brix, a measurement for sweetness.

“We’re back to a normal [growing] season. Last year for instance we didn’t get above 33°C (91.4°F) – now we’re into the low 40s (104°F),” Moore tells Fresh Fruit Portal from Shanghai.

These improved growing conditions, combined with good irrigation access for farmers, have played their part in boosting fruit quality for importers in the lead-up to Chinese New Year on Feb. 16.

“As far as nectarines go our season is 100% improved on last year. The quality is much better and I’ve been able to establish that there’s a marginal difference between Chilean nectarines and ours,” Moore says.

“I know the Chilean nectarines and with respect I say this as our competitor. They produce a lot more than Australia – we’re only able to land into mainland China up to 10,000MT of quality nectarines with reasonable brix,” he says.

“Our brix has increased. I was here in December and through to now I’ve seen the brix level come up two percentage points, so we’re looking at 15s at the moment. There’s definitely a difference in our brix to our competitors’ brix.

The industry representative elaborates on the comparison as well as the season’s development and expectations.

“I was in Guangzhou yesterday and it was my first time this year seeing the Chilean nectarines. The fruit there is of good color, very firm – I think it’s the early varieties and like with any country the early varieties probably need to mature a bit,” he explains.

“I think as the season progresses there’s going to be pretty interesting volumes coming out of Chile and we wish them all the best.”

Moore visited China on Dec. 20 and saw Aussie nectarines were already in the market, with early season fruit that was more acceptable for the Chinese market.

“And I was here over the Christmas-New Year break and the quality of our fruit was just sensational as it improved,” he says.

“We’ve targeted a lot of high-end retailers and we’re getting better than satisfactory results at this stage. We expect that to improve as we go to CNY (Chinese New Year).

“Obviously everyone will be disappointed after Feb. 16. It’ll fall off but then demand will probably pick up again from the end of February through to the end of March, which is the end of our season.”

He says last year the Australian industry shipped 5,800 metric tons (MT) of nectarines to mainland China, and while 10,000MT may well be “too much of a star in the sky”, the numbers will definitely be up.

“I’ve already seen fruit being destined for other cities. We’re certainly not with all the eggs in one basket going to tier ones,” he says.

“There’s certainly fruit going Chongqing, Chengdu, Xi’an, Nanjing, all the cities close to the tier one cities; I don’t don’t know how far west or north they’re going, but that’s not in our strategy.

“We haven’t got enough volume in Australia and we’re not narrow-minded enough to think we can do all over China – we’re just doing into key markets and where they key market buyers distribute the fruit, that’s their decision, not ours.”

With a small output compared to major international players like Chile and Spain, the Australian stonefruit industry ‘isn’t looking to conquer the world’, but the sector does have 38 different markets and continues to develop new ones.

“The Middle East is a good market for us. Singapore, Malaysia, other Asian countries take modest volumes,” he says.

“We are continually having in-country campaigns in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam. That’s a market that’s opening up to us now – we were there up until 2011 but the Vietnamese government cut out a lot of Australian industries and now we’re re-prioritized into Vietnam so that’s a market that’s emerging.

“The USA is a work in progress – we’re waiting for the biosecurity departments of the respective countries to work through the issues, and even with our next door neighbor New Zealand, we’re waiting for their next biosecurity meetings to have access.”

Taste Australia promotes summer fruits Malaysia

The Taste Australia campaign provided recipes, displays and promotions in a bid to push summer fruits in Malaysia

Australian summer fruits were celebrated at Tesco Kepong Village Mall, Kuala Lumpur, just in time for the fruit gifting season.

The Taste Australia campaign launched last week highlighted cherries and summer fruits as a fresh and delicious option for shoppers.

Strategic promotion prior to the Chinese New Year was made on fruits like the cherry, whose round shape and colour symbolise prosperity and bring the recipient of them good fortune for the year.

The campaign was coordinated by the State Government of Victoria (Australia), in collaboration with Austrade and Hort Innovation Australia (who represent the cherry and summer fruit industries).

“Lots of sunshine, a clean and green natural environment, rich soil and blue skies are the reasons why Australian stone fruits taste better, are greener, cleaner and safer,” said Amelia Fyfield, State Government of Victoria (Australia) representative.

The promotional campaign featured plenty of fresh fruit displays alongside recipe demonstrations with nutritionist and health advocate, Marissa Parry.

“Fruit platters, salads and popsicles are just perfect for our Malaysian weather which is akin to summer all year round,” said Parry. “It’s best to taste them at their freshest while at the same time enjoy the nutritional benefits.”

Parry prepared a breakfast summer smoothie bowl, fresh fruit popsicles and a fresh summer salad using the Australian cherries and summer fruits to inspire shoppers.

Malaysia remains one of Australia’s fastest growing export markets in the Asean, with two-way trade in goods and services totalling almost AU$18 billion in 2016.

Source: Author: Camellia Aebischer


First shipments of peaches to China

Under newly ratified protocols, Orsida Fresh peaches have been sent by airfreight to mainland China

Valleyfresh Exports have worked with Cobram grower, Orsida Fresh to airfreight some of the first batches of Australian peaches to China via airfreight under newly ratified protocols.

The access will allow Australian growers of stonefruit, grapes and cherries to enter markets in mainland China more efficiently than before.

“Now with the direct access we can have a flight leave Melbourne in the morning and arrive in China that night,” said Valleyfresh Exports manager Saxon Call.

Valleyfresh will be focusing on airfreight in to Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai.

Their first shipments of peaches were in partnership with Orsida Fresh, a grower in Cobram, Victoria who worked with Call and his colleague Mark Shaw on the project.

“The grower we worked with was a big help in enabling us to get the right quality fruit in to the supply chain,” said Call.

Valleyfresh will be focusing their efforts on peaches and nectarines for the moment, but are hoping to begin exporting plums in the coming months.

Protocol treatments for different fruits can be found on the Manual of Importing Country Requirements website.

“With treatment, the protocol does cost a little bit more, but direct market access to China is what Australians have wanted and really needed.”

Source: Author: Camellia Aebischer

Australia-China access deal ratified

Trade can now commence under improved protocols for the export of Australian cherries, stonefruits, table grapes and citrus
Exporting of some stonefruits, citrus, cherries and table grapes from Australia to China will now become easier and faster under a series of new protocols ratified today (12 January).

The finalisation of the protocols comes after proposed changes to the Manual of Importing Country Requirements (MICoR) were announced in November 2017. The ammendments included approval for different modes of transit for fresh fruit including air and seafreight, which had previously been excluded for certain varieties.

Exporters will still have to wait for approval to send fruit under the new protocols as import permits still need to be issued.

Table Grapes

For the table grape industry, changes mean access to airfreight with fumigated fruit. Industry members suggest this will expand their reach into inland areas and tier two cities.

“This is a game changer because it will open up a whole new market in China for our growers and they’ll be able to deliver to market after only four days,” said Australian Table Grapes Association chief executive Jeff Scott prior to ratification.

Scott said there would be significant benefits for the table grape industry in light of the new protocol.

“In two of three years, once fumigation facilities are in place and growers know how to manage the protocol, I think it could add another A$80-100m worth of exports,” he said.


Key benefits for Australian citrus exporters include recognition of South Australia’s Riverland as a pest free area, approval of cold disinfestation at 30C, and a relaxation of the field control measures for certain pests.

“This will provide benefits to both sides of the trade. Fruit will undoubtedly arrive in better condition with better out-turn quality and shelf life and reduce the costs of supply,” explained David Daniels, market access manager at Citrus Australia.

“Ultimately, it means that we can continue to supply Chinese consumers with high quality fruit at affordable prices.”


For the stonefruit industry, the deal will extend access beyond nectarines to include peaches, plums and apricots. The protocol includes low-dose methyl bromide fumigation of peaches, which allows fruit to be airfreighted.

“We’re also completing efficacy trials for low-dose methyl bromide on plums and apricots, with the hope of getting airfreight-friendly protocols for those products next year,” said John Moore, CEO of Summerfruit Australia.

Exporters must attain a Chinese import permit before sending their first consignments of fruit, a process which can take two or three weeks to complete. Regardless, Australian peach suppliers remain confident they will receive the green light to start airfreight shipments in time for the all-important Chinese New Year trading period.


The deal arguably represents the most significant market access win to date for Australia’s cherry industry.

Along with recognising a number of cherry production hubs as pest free areas, growers on the Australian mainland will be able to send their fruit directly to China via airfreight for the first time.

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

“We would love a non-treatment or irradiation protocol, and we will continue to campaign for improved market access, but we can make it work with methyl bromide,” said Cherry Growers Australia (CGA) chief executive Tom Eastlake. “We will see shipments under this protocol for sure.”


Australian stone fruit on track for strong volume despite recent weather

Recent weather events in the major stone fruit growing regions, have not affected the optimism of the industry nationally, with volumes still on track to be higher than in the previous year.

Andrew Finlay is a grower at Pikes Creek Orchard near Stanthorpe in Queensland and also Chairman of Summerfruit Australia and he says the outlook for this year is looking really good, especially in his part of the country.

"Growing conditions have been good – significantly better than last year, it’s almost like a different country," he said. "There will be plenty of options and varieties for consumers to enjoy, with strong brix levels – in Queensland, we’re seeing 16.5 – 19.5 brix, so the sweetness should be up there. There are plenty of varieties still to come, so we’re looking forward to a strong season."

He says the major growing regions in southern Australia, have also experienced positive conditions throughout winter, leading into the season, despite some scattered hail and frost. While some parts of northern Victoria and southern New South Wales received more than 200 millimetres of rain last weekend, which is set to have a impact on yield for those growers.

Mr Finlay's orchard in South East Queensland grows early season fruit, harvesting from the middle of October, with a focus on nectarines and peaches. He has nectarine varieties such as Honey May and May Bright, and peach varieties such as Snow Angel and May Princess. That's in addition to plum varieties like Black Diamond, Black Ruby and Ebony Treat, which are harvested at the start of November, and are focused on the domestic market, with only a small amount of export plums.

"The varieties we choose work well for our region," Mr Finlay said. "Thanks to strong demand, our operations are expanding year on year. Asia as a region is an important focus for Australian Horticulture. There is significant opportunity to build markets given Australian products are known for being premium, high value and nutritious."

He says demand for Australian stone fruit is getting stronger, thanks to exciting new varieties that are coming into the market each season.

"As more varieties arrive, they’ll help to increase demand" Mr Finlay said. "We know we need to make sure the fruit we deliver to market is consistent, which is also a key driver for demand."

Mr Finlay believes this is a really exciting time for the industry, particularly with the opening of the market into China for plums, peaches and apricots, after nectarines gained access last season. He adds it will mean greater management of the supply and can better support the supply/demand balance here in Australia.

"For myself, I’ve got some varieties with high brix levels that I think will go very well in the Chinese market," he said. "They’re sweet and a good size which is a requirement in China, they are also perfect for snacking. Through the Hort Innovation Taste Australia initiative, we are working closely with export markets on consumer education to assist with their experience at a store level to help cement stone fruit as a great option for summer."

More than 100,000 tonnes of stone fruit is produced each year by more than 1,200 farmers Australia wide across the 26 growing regions. However, Mr Finlay says it is not just the quantity, but the improvement in quality this year that has made this year’s crop sweeter, which should improve even further as the season progresses.

“We know Aussies love stone fruit, it’s a nostalgic reminder of warm summer days with family and friends," he said. "Consumers can enjoy the fruit from now, through the festive season and well into the new year. I love nothing more than tucking into a peach or nectarine fresh off the tree as a snack, or slicing them and adding to a summer salad – it gives a lovely texture and tastes delicious. Make sure the fruit smells sweet, gives a little under pressure when squeezed, with no soft spots or blemishes. Once you get them home, if they’re not quite ripe, let them sit at room temperature. Only put them in the fridge once they’re ripe, as the cold stops the ripening process.”

For more information and serving ideas visit the Facebook Page:

Andrew Finlay
Pikes Creek Orchard
+61 7 4685 6171

Publication date: 12/8/2017
Author: Matthew Russell

New plum varieties looking to diversify stone fruit market

One of Australia's leading stone fruit producers is set to increase its market diversification following the planting of new varieties from Israel.

Throughout December over 20,000 of the new plum trees from Ben Dor were planted, which are exclusive to Cutri Fruit. They will run counter seasonal to other forms of stone fruit, and could be on the market by 2020.

"We will be harvesting fruit when there is no other stone fruit on the Australian market," Marketing Manager Nicole Cutri said. "They are also a new category of super-sweet plums that we can offer to our customers. The new varieties will taste better than what we have on the market, the varieties are innovative in colour and flavour, not to mention the health benefits."

Ms Cutri says the late season plums will be harvested from mid-March to early May and will be highly-sweet with excellent shelf-life. One of those varieties is the Turtle Egg, which is easily-recognisable for its green skin and very sweet, yellow flesh.

Cutri Fruit has also brought in a series of Watermelon Variety Plums, which are characterised by their high natural sugars (brix over 19) and very high antioxidant levels.

"We have imported the series of these plums, so will have a five month continual supply of them for our customers," Ms Cutri said. "They generally have a speckled red flesh with a deep red/merlot-coloured flesh that is easily recognisable by our customers."

The company's main focus for selling these new varieties is on the Asian markets, where the demand will be very high, due to the consistently high brix levels, their firmness, and their ability to travel well. But Ms Cutri says the plums will be marketed towards the local market as well.

"Domestically, we hope consumers will want to buy our late plums over imported varieties from the US," she said. "We hope consumers will gravitate towards these varieties once they learn of their high-antioxidant and high-anthocyanin levels."

Cutri Fruit has just completed the first round of plantings and plans to complete the planting of the trial site by April 2018. The site will have approximately 60, 000 trees planted. But Ms Cutri says it's been a long journey to get this far.

"This journey is already 5 years since its inception," she says. "From importation it takes 18 months to get through the AQIS quarantine process where they’re tested for viruses and diseases. Then when trees come out we have to multiply up buds from 100 to 7,000 that are required for testing. Then we plant out the varieties on our farms, and within 2 years using our new methods of training and growing we have the first fruits."

She adds that production will begin to drastically increase in year 4 (6 years from importation) with the first crop. From then production increases in year 5, then plateauing out when the trees are then in full production.

"Plums are a crop that Cutri fruit have grown for many years," Ms Cutri said. "As part of our new development work Gaethan (Cutri) identified varieties and in particular plums. Over the last 2 years at Cutri Fruit we have researched new and innovative ways to grow trees, in particular plums. These plums are part of the new varieties we have brought into the country."


Image source: Cutri Fruit via 

For more information:
Nicole Cutri
Cutri Fruit
Phone: +61 3 5037 6661

Publication date: 12/7/2017
Author: Matthew Russell

Fruitful trade meeting with China

Australia and China agreed to protocols providing market access for the first time for Aussie peaches, plums and apricots and improved access for cherries, table grapes, and citrus.
Protocols were signed at a High-level Dialogue between Australian and Chinese officials in Sydney today.​
Australian horticulture producers and exporters received a boost today, with Australia and China agreeing to new market access protocols for peaches, plums and apricots and improved access for Australian cherries, table grapes and citrus.

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Luke Hartsuyker, said the new agreements will deliver practical and commercially viable export opportunities for Australia's summerfruit producers and exporters.

"Opening and improving agricultural market access is a priority for the Coalition Government, as exports underpin the profitability of our agriculture sector and support valuable farmgate returns," Minister Hartsuyker said.

"These agreements with China will support new and improved market access for a range of valuable and important Australian horticulture commodities and will complement the access already achieved for Australian nectarines.

"It means Australian peaches, plums and apricots will soon be joining Australian nectarines on the shelves of Chinese supermarkets and greengrocers, just in time for the upcoming export season, and as a result of tariff cuts under the China–Australia Free Trade Agreement—Australia's horticultural exports will be even more competitive."

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 $9 billion horticulture industry as a whole.

"The agreements will also see improvements to the existing conditions for Australian cherries, citrus and table grapes, to provide better access for Australian exporters," Assistant Minister Ruston said.

"Exports of cherries, citrus and table grapes to China were worth over $230 million in 2016-17. The improvements in the protocols for these products will allow Australian producers and exporters to take advantage of the improved conditions to export more fruit to China in the upcoming season.

"This will not only benefit our farmers and economy, but will also ensure Chinese consumers continue to have access to the high-quality and safe produce that Australia is known for."

Cherry Growers Australia has projected exports to China could grow by as much as $50 million in future years and Summerfruit Australia expect similar growth. The Australian Table Grape Association projects exports to increase by up to $100 million.

The revised conditions for cherries, citrus and table grapes include recognition of Australia's fruit fly pest-free areas, as well as improved and more commercially-viable pre-export treatments.

The agreement supports long-held ambitions for Australian producers and will enable our horticulture commodities under the new and improved protocols to go from the paddock to Chinese markets in a faster and more cost-effective manner.

Fast facts

Australia's agricultural exports to China were worth over A$10 billion in 2016.
Australian horticulture exports to China were worth over $200 million in 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.
China market access for Australian table grapes was gained in 2011, cherries in 2013, nectarines in 2016 and access for other summerfruits—peaches, plums and apricots—was agreed today.
Australia and China are now transitioning to a new 'two and two' agreement that includes Australian mainland apples and blueberries as future market access priorities.
The implementation of the China–Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) means that from 1 January 2018, most Australian summerfruit will face a tariff of only 2 per cent in China, down from 10 per cent prior to entry into force of ChAFTA.
The tariff on all horticulture (except citrus) exports to China will be eliminated by 1 January 2019 and the tariff on citrus exports to China will be eliminated by 1 January 2023.​

9 November 2017​

Source: Office of Sen, Anne Ruston

Chile expects to ship first nectarines to China in November


On Tuesday 25 October, Carlos Furche, Minister of Agriculture of Chile, announced that after three years of negotiations with China, Chile will be able to export nectarines to this market. On Friday 21, the negotiations between the technical teams of both countries finally came to an end and it will now be possible to set up protocols for the export of this Chilean fruit to China.

If we keep in mind that in recent years China has positioned itself as the fastest growing market for Chilean exports, the signing of an agreement for the entry of nectarines is a great opportunity for the producers. "This is something we had been expecting for a long time and the vast majority of producers have been giving support to these negotiations. Although the opening has been announced, the agreement has yet to be signed, but this is expected to happen in about 4 weeks," affirms Felipe Casanova, of Gesex.
The first shipment could be made with current harvest
Chile will start harvesting nectarines in mid-November, so the quick and definitive opening of the Chinese market is crucial for this campaign. "We're racing against time. We knew that this agreement would be signed and we have carried out negotiations to start exporting the harvest directly. But if this signing is delayed by a couple of weeks, we could have big problems. Also, we could now enter this destination with better calibres and superior quality, but always focusing on the white fleshed varieties," states the representative.

It is clear that consumption in China is still growing and has great potential, and the fact that they offer prices with good returns makes it an interesting destination. "Until now, we faced very high costs to deliver the fruit there, because everything was done via importers. Eventually, we arrived with very high prices, but this agreement will make it easier for the fruit to be shipped there and allow us to obtain better returns," stresses Casanova.

It is worth noting that this year the Chinese market also opened its doors to Australia, and the first Australian shipment of nectarines by air will take place in November, which can entail fierce competition for Chile. "Australia will definitely be one of our competitors, but they offer fruit with a higher price than the one we are able to supply, which could be an advantage in this market," concludes the spokesperson.

For more information:
Felipe Casanova J.
T: + 569 99703508

Publication date: 10/31/2016


Australia benefits most from Sino-Australian Free Trade Agreement

Chinese fruit imports have grown in recent years, to the extent that the domestic high-end fruit market has suffered from international competition. Australian fruit in particular found a warm welcome with Chinese consumers through their reputation for "high-quality, high-nutritional value" fruit. Australia greatly benefited from the Sino-Australian Free Trade Agreement and has become China's largest fruit supplier. 13 kinds of fruit from 10 countries obtained permission in early 2017 to enter the Chinese market. Four of those fruits came from Australia: blueberries, peaches, plums, and apricots. Australian farmers can be seen as the greatest winners in the last two years.

The Australian Weekly Times reported that Australian export of drupes to China increased by 167% since the Sino-Australian Free Trade Agreement was implemented two years ago. Data from the first three months of 2018 shows that the projected export of peaches, nectarines, and plums from Australia to China in 2018 will reach nearly 5000 tons. This would be an export volume increase of 263% in comparison with 2017.

The fruit import volume in China is larger than the fruit export volume, and that difference grows by 13% every year. Data from the Department of Agriculture shows that China imported 1.45 million tons of fruit in the first quarter of 2018, which is an increase of 20% in comparison with the same period last year. The import value was 24.1 million USD, which is an increase of 50% in comparison with the same period last year.

John Moore, CEO of SummerFruit Australia, stated that farmers should pay attention to the excellent market prospects in China and continue to strengthen the position of Australian farmers in the Chinese market. This will help to solve the domestic situation where fruit supply exceeds demand. China is not only an opportunity for Australian farmers to make profit, fruit export to China is also an opportunity to solve problems on the Australian market.

Source: Dongheng Talk via 

Publication date: 6/15/2018

First shipment of Australian plums about to land in the Chinese market

Only two weeks ago the first shipment of Australian honey peaches reached Beijing directly, and already the Australian company Royal Fresh International Pty Ltd has prepared a cargo ship for the transport of the first shipment of plums. This shipment is expected to arrive in Shanghai harbor in early March.

Plums have recently been listed, together with apricots and wild peaches, as a category of fruit that is allowed to access China. Plums have a high sugar content and a flavor that is welcomed by all. It is also relatively well-suited for storage. The 2018 production season of plums will end in three or four weeks. Royal Fresh International Pty Ltd will then provide more relevant news on the retail conditions after the first shipment of plums reaches the harbor.

David Yang

Royal Fresh International Pty Ltd

Publication date: 2/14/2018