First Australian avocados land in Japan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Source: https://www.freshfruitportal.com 

'California table grape shipments ‘to continue through January’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: https://www.freshfruitportal.com 

Australia’s fresh orange production forecast at 500,000 tons

USDA GAIN report:
Australia’s fresh orange production is forecast at 500,000 metric tons (MT) in 2018/19, down 3 percent on the estimate for the previous year. Australia is a counter-seasonal exporter of mainly navel oranges to north-Asian markets such as China and Japan while the United States exports navel oranges during Australia’s off-season.

Post forecasts orange exports at 215,000 MT, down 6.5 percent on the estimate for the previous year because of lower production. Orange juice production, mainly from Valencia oranges, is forecast to decline by 7 percent in 2018/19 while total imports of orange juice and orange juice concentrate are forecast to be stable.

Citrus production is a major horticultural sector in Australia and a leading export product. Orange producers dominate the citrus industry and are located along the Murrumbidgee and Murray Rivers in the Riverina, Sunraysia, and Riverland irrigation areas of New South Wales (NSW), Victoria, and South Australia. These regions produce both eating (navel) and juicing (Valencia) oranges. The Central Burnett region in Queensland produces mandarins, lemons, and limes. There are also smaller citrus plantings in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

While export demand for navel oranges has increased, producers have faced higher costs for irrigation water. In November 2018, the total amount of water stored in the Murray Darling Basin’s dams dropped below 50 percent compared to over 70 percent at the same time last year. For most citrus producing regions, such as the Riverina, producers have faced drier than average conditions and higher temperatures, with a similar outlook forecast for the period to January 2019. A number of frosts have occurred throughout all of the orange growing regions throughout the winter period. However, the effects of the frosts were minimal and caused only slight fruit damage in scattered areas.

Post forecasts Australian domestic orange consumption in 2018/19 to be stable at 245,000 MT, the same as in the previous year. Navels oranges are generally large and seedless and mature earlier than other oranges. Domestic sales are usually made directly to large supermarket chains or through central fruit markets. Citrus consumption usually increases from June to August each year.

Click here for the full report.


Publication date : 12/10/2018

Source: www.freshplaza.com 

Australian avocado production grows

In the past decade production of avocados has nearly doubled, projected to 115,000 tonnes by 2025
At 77,000 tonnes in 2017/18 the Australian avocado industry is on a long term upward trajectory.

“One-third of Australia’s avocado trees have yet to reach their prime production years but enough of the new plantings have come on line this year to boost the industry above last year’s 66,000 tonnes,” said Avocados Australia CEO, John Tyas.

Tyas says by 2025 the industry is on track to produce around 115,000 tonnes annually.

“Our production in 2017/18 was 17 per cent more than the previous year, with a gross value of production estimated at A$557 million.”

Domestic consumption has held steady for a second year in a row at 3.5kg per person, per year, but Tyas is confident there is more room for growth.

Most of the Australian supply is grown in Queensland, who host 62 per cent of plantings, second to Western Australia at 25 per cent, followed by New South Wales, Victoria and Australia.

“In 2017/18 Hass represented 78 per cent of production. Shepard, a green-skin variety grown in Queensland through late Summer and Autumn, made up 19 per cent of production, and at that time of year, is the dominant Australian variety on the market.”

To help balance supply and demand in future, Avocados Australia is working with Hort Innovation to expand both domestic and international markets. “At the moment we export less than five per cent of our production annually, but that will increase as our production increases,” Tyas said.

Currently Malaysia and Singapore are the main export markets for Australian avocados.

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

Aussie stonefruit season “progressing beautifully”, says Cutri Fruit

Australia’s leading grower-packer of stonefruit has noted “excellent” growing conditions this year with exports already underway since last month along with a new partnership.

Cutri Fruit CEO Gaethan Cutri told Fresh Fruit Portal the season had been running “solidly”, while he was upbeat about a joint venture for exports with LaManna Premier Group (LPG) to form LPG Cutri Fruit Global Exports.

“Having the right people enables businesses to grow and become better at what they do – we believe our joint venture has that and will bring this to both our businesses,” Cutri said.

“LPG are exporting in other categories which we see to be a great bolt-on to what we do and now gives both businesses a 12-month offer between fruits and vegetables to customers worldwide.”

He said Cutri Fruit’s farms, which in stonefruit are split between nectarines (45%), peaches (45%) and plums (10%), witnessed great chill hours throughout the winter and were “relatively unscathed by the frosts”.

“Each year we progress down the farming journey we get better at being able to mitigate any potential challenges that arise, so each year seems to feel more manageable than the last,” Gaethan Cutri said.

“The start of the season is usually really challenging in terms of training new staff – some don’t even know what a nectarine is – but we are lucky that we have a lot of returning staff this season who are already familiar with our business, our systems and our products.

“We appear to be three to seven days ahead of last year, however last season was abnormally late.”

He added early season fruit volumes were down on last year, so the group believed sales on the domestic market would likely be strong throughout the remainder of the season, which so far had been “progressing beautifully”.

Cutri mentioned that as a large portion of the company’s plantings were export-focused, they were predominantly made up of white-fleshed varieties in nectarines and peaches. But yellow-fleshed fruit was still on offer.

“There are markets around the world who also just prefer yellow fleshed fruit, so we will export both this season,” he said.

“As we are Australia’s largest grower and packer of stone fruit, we need to export all the fruits that we have, in order to move the sheer volume of fruit. Plus, we don’t want to be pigeon-holed as being only a white-flesh producer.”

The executive also commended industry body Summerfruit Australia for setting the standards of where quality needed to be, following a challenging initial campaign in China a couple of years ago.

“Australia has always been sought after for its clean and green nature, fruit taste and healthful eating experience,” he said.

“We have been exporting to the Asian markets for over 30 years now, so we already know what the needs of the customers are, but it’s been a re-learning experience complying with the specific China protocols, which is something that we cherish greatly so we need to see that it’s done correctly.

“We have had to make some changes in training staff to the expectation and a few changes to how we operate in the orchard, but that’s all just a part of what we need to do. In keeping up with the practices we have implemented we hope to have a fantastic export season into China.”

He clarifies the group will be sending fruit “all over Asia and pretty much every market we have access to”.

“We are always looking to explore new opportunities – having multiple markets means we are never reliant on just one market,” Cutri said.

Cutri Fruit is also starting to see the fruits of its labor in trialing new cultivars, but it is still early days.

“All I can say is that we have some exclusive varieties of super-sweet plums already in the ground, with small volumes available for sampling this season,” he said.

“Their health benefits will rival the likes of the Queen Garnet plums, as well as blueberries and pomegranates. They will be the future of stonefruit.

“We have also delved into avocados, planting up an initial block of 40 hectares which are growing beautifully. They haven’t been in the ground for even two years, and this year we received a small sample of fruit, which were amazingly delicious and had excellent shelf life.”

Source: https://www.freshfruitportal.com 

New South Wales cherry growers turning to Chinese buyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

USDA GAIN report


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

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

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

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

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

Click here for the full report.


Publication date : 11/23/2018

Source: www.freshplaza.com 

Costa enters deal to acquire NCF farms

Costa Group (ASX: CGC) is set to consolidate its position in Australia’s two leading fruit export commodities – table grapes and citrus – through the acquisition of Nangiloc Colignan Farm’s (NCF) farming operations in the greater Sunraysia district of North West Victoria.

The company announced today (Nov. 16 AEDT) it had signed a conditional agreement in conjunction with a subsidiary of CK Life Sciences Int’l (Holdings) Inc, through which CK would acquire the farm to be leased to Costa for 20 years.

The group expects the acquisition to be completed in late 2018.

NCF is a grower of high quality citrus and grapes across 567 hectares, including 240 hectares of citrus (103ha Afourer mandarins, 105ha oranges), 204 hectares of table grapes and 123 hectares of wine grapes.

Costa CEO Harry Debney said the acquisition and its focus on the Sunraysia growing region opened up growth opportunities that were not available in the South Australian Riverland, an area where Costa produces approximately half of the citrus crop.

“This acquisition and location in the Sunraysia region will reduce reliance on any one region in our portfolio and will also open up additional growth opportunities,” Debney said.

“In particular, with respect to Afourer mandarins and navel oranges this will allow us to further take advantage of export market demand.”

Costa said NCF had “attractive plantings” of proprietary table grape varieties, and it was expected the majority of table grape sales from the farm would be for export markets.

Up to a third of the NCF citrus plantings are less than five years old., while Cossta plans to convert wine grape vineyards to citrus plantings over time.

The operation has a main operating shed, cool rooms, machinery sheds and workshops, as well as 3,800ML of water under permanent licence and more than 100ML of irrigation dam capacity.

“Over recent years Costa has embarked upon both greenfield growth and M&A activity in the citrus category. This has been fuelled by expanded favourable export markets and free trade agreements with countries including Japan, South Korea and China,” Debney said.

“In order to further capitalise on this, Costa is trialling several new mandarin, orange and lemon varieties on commercial sized blocks that have market potential with improved attributes including, seedless, high brix (sugar), red flesh and different maturity timing.”

With the current 2,429 hectares of citrus category plantings Costa has in the South Australian Riverland, the NCF acquisition will bring the Company’s total plantings in the Riverland and Sunraysia regions to 2,996 hectares.

The deal comes just days after Bennelong Australian Equity Partners announced it had increased its stake in the company over recent months to hold 12.5% voting power in Costa, on behalf of security holders Citi, NAS, BNP, RBC and RBC Lux.

 

Source: www.freshfruitportal.com 

Mango season North Queensland 2018

A steady supply of quality mangoes is expected this season; the harvest gets underway in North Queensland. Growers in the Burdekin and Bowen regions started picking this week, with Dimbulah and Mareeba growers set to join them in the coming weeks.

Last year, a glut of mangoes drove the prices down for growers due to a clash in output between northern growing regions. According to Ben Martin from Marto's Mangoes, this year the harvest would be spaced out in the regions, which will be a win-win for growers and consumers.

“There doesn’t seem to be the large volume of Kensington Prides around as last year, which should keep the prices up a bit, however consumers will be getting great quality mangoes,” Martin said. “We had a clash between the growing regions last year, which meant there was an oversupply of fruit. This year the Katherine fruit has almost been picked… it all looks like it will flow from one region onto the next so there will be a good steady supply of mangoes for the whole season.”

Martin said that the trees that were battered in the Bowen region during Cyclone Debbie last year, were starting to come back and Bowen-Burdekin growers would continue to pick for the next four to five weeks.

Mareeba grower and Australian Mango Industry Association deputy chairman John Nucifora said Dimbulah growers would start picking in two weeks, with Mareeba growers starting in early December. The season will continue until March.

Northqueenslandregister.com.au reported on Nucifora saying that more than 10 million trays of mangoes were produced Australia wide last year, with Mareeba growers producing about 2.5 million trays. He said he expected there would be a similar yield this year.


Publication date : 7/11/2018

Source: www.freshplaza.com 

Australian cherry crop sizes up well

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cautious optimism for China

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Author : Matthew Jones

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: https://www.producereport.com 

 

 

Export demand soaring - Cherry growers expect largest Australian crop ever

Cherry producers across Australia are looking at a bumper season, and early crop forecasts suggest this year's crop will reach new highs, making it Australia's largest cherry crop in history. Consumers might see a higher supply than usual this year, but growers are setting their sights on increasing their export numbers considerably.

Cherry Growers Australia president Tom Eastlake said all production areas were recording a good crop, ranging from a light to heavy crop. The national record for the Australian cherry crop is about 15,000 tonnes.

"The forecast at the moment depends on how bullish you want to be … we would have to be starting this year at a baseline of 20 per cent higher than 15,000 tonnes, so it will be about 18,000 tonnes," Eastlake said. "Assuming we don't have any adverse weather events come through, I would be reasonably confident we hit that mark."

Riverland cherry grower Leon Cotsaris started harvesting early variety cherries at his orchard two weeks ago, and said growing conditions this year were great. "We had a fairly mild spring, which has been pretty good, although it's been very dry.”

He said fruit size and quality this year were good, but dependent on weather conditions in coming weeks.

Cherry Growers Association of South Australia president and Adelaide Hills grower Nick Noske said they had been expecting high yields last year, but many growers' crops were severely damaged by hail and rain.

Abc.net.au reports that despite a bumper crop, consumers might not see extreme price drops this season as growers look to export markets. Due to the reopening of the Vietnamese market and new market access to China last year, demand for Australian cherries is high.


Publication date : 11/6/2018

Source: www.freshplaza.com