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AHEIA pleased that government focus has turned to horticulture exports

The Australian Horticulture Exporter's and Importers' Association has welcomed the Federal Coalition Government's multi-million-dollar commitment to growing horticulture exports, provided in this month's budget.

A total of $29.4 million worth of measures were announced, to target agricultural sectors with high export growth potential. Exact details are still vague, given the Federal Government went into caretaker mode soon after the budget was released, due to the pending election on May 18. The AHEIA says this is the first time it can remember focus being placed on horticulture exports.

"It's great to see horticulture is taking the spotlight on the agriculture trade agenda because it is an incredibly positive story for the Australian economy," CEO Dominic Jenkin said. "It hasn't attracted as much attention (in the past) so it was great to see that as the centrepiece of agriculture trade announcements. Furthermore, the focus on gaining additional market access and improving the conditions for trade into our major markets. However, there is precious little detail in the statement, so time will tell where the investments go, and the quality of those investments."

One of the major commitments was to provide $11.4 million over four years to break through the technical and scientific trade barriers so Australian fruit and vegetables can get market access into more countries. The AHEIA welcomes any way to streamline that process.

“Horticultural trade is often limited by sanitary and phytosanitary measures,” Mr Jenkin said. “This can occur as either delays in the assessment and establishment of appropriate measures, or the imposition of impractical measures. Investment in improving horticultural market access and trade should promote greater transparency and understanding in the application of phytosanitary measures. This would include timely approval of market access applications and to promptly and transparently conduct risk assessments when required. Attention should be paid to improving the technical dialogue with our trading partners to ensure the most practicable solutions are selected and implemented."

He added that the problem with that is that is that while the process is intended to be purely scientific, it can often become political, in terms of "the way that it is drafted, the timeliness, and whom they engage to draft it".

"Market access is an inherently political process, and trade in every sense is reciprocal," he said. "We will need to have a hard look at access and conditions that we impose upon exporters to our market, and our operational practices to support that trade. So, I think it is relational, so I think we need to be spending money to improve the relationship with our most important trading partners. We have been challenged by our broader government perspectives, in terms of our relationships with our more important trading partners. It's important that we move to improve those, and show real value to our trading partners, show we care about what they are interested in and compromise to find mutual benefits, rather than engage in confrontational approaches."

Mr Jenkin would also like to see a greater focus on improving relationships with trading partners, which can sometimes involve delicate political negotiations.

"Relationships are rarely maintained through the pragmatic argument of facts, but rather deep understanding," he said. "If we know only our own needs and we ignore the needs of our trading partners we cannot expect relationships to prosper. We must look deeply in order to identify and understand the needs, aspirations and adversities they encounter. This is the groundwork required for relationships to prosper."

The Federal Government stated that only 18 per cent of horticulture production was exported, meaning that there is huge potential for growth. The industry is currently taking a diverse approach, supplying to around 30 countries. However, one of the most important areas for growth in recent years has of course been China.

The AHEIA says one of the eventual key winners of this investment will be regional communities.

"At the end of the day, it is all flowing back to the farms and our regional communities," Mr Jenkin said. "In horticulture, up to 50 per cent of the cost of production is the labour component. Whilst it is a huge problem in terms of accessing this labour, it is also a positive for the communities that support those populations. It is extremely positive to see the investment in this area, and we would certainly welcome engagement with any government around the world in improving horticulture trade. Trade also means importing products as well, and we see maintaining that balance is vital in maintaining our status in our most important markets."

For more information
Dominic Jenkin
Australian Horticulture Exporter's and Importers' Association
Phone: +61 423 394 476
admin@horticulturetrade.com.au  
www.horticulturetrade.com.au 


Publication date: 4/17/2019
Author: matthew@freshplaza.com
© FreshPlaza.com

Vietnam: CPTPP should help to export more to Australia

Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, Director of the WTO Integration Centre of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), stated that Vietnamese enterprises need to take advantage of tariff reductions under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to increase exports to Australia.

Australia is one of the 20 largest economies in the world, with outstanding potential in science and technology, mineral exploitation, high-quality services and agricultural products. Australia is also a market with high purchasing power and stability. Vietnam and Australia are both members of CPTPP, which will help promote trade and expand the scale of investment and cooperation between the two sides in the future.

Although each side had its own potential, strengths and a variety of commodities, the value of Vietnam's exports to Australia was still modest. Vietnam could also strengthen cooperation with Australia by increasing imports, including technologies that Australia has advantages in as well as consultation services.

When exporting to Australia, Vietnamese enterprises needed to understand the market trend, consumer tastes and regulations on food safety and origins to meet the requirements of importers, said Phung Thi Lan Phuong, head of the FTA Division of the WTO and Integration Centre of the VCCI.

According to sggpnews.org.vn¸ Dinh Thi My Loan, Chairwoman of the Vietnam Retailers Association, stressed the strong competition in the import and retail areas in Australia, while suggesting Vietnamese firms building long-term business strategies which focus on product introduction and branding, trust creation and relationships to approach Australia's retail system.

The quality of goods is still inadequate compared to competitors such as China, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Loan said that in order to stand firm in the Australian market, Vietnamese enterprises must regard quality as the top priority rather than focusing on quantity and price.


Publication date: 4/15/2019

Source: https://www.freshplaza.com 

Indonesia tastes Australian grapes

Promotional tasting events held across Indonesia in line with increased volumes due to new varieties
This year, Indonesia will enjoy a 20 per cent increase in volume of Australian table grapes on the market.

The island-nation exported more than 15,000 tonnes of grapes in 2018 and is expecting to increase on that number in 2019. New varieties coming into maturity are cited for the increase in volumes, as well as favourable growing conditions producing a quality yield.

Australia exports a wide range of seed and seedless varieties of grapes to Indonesia including Red Globe, Crimson Seedless, Thompson Seedless, Autumn Royal, Moondrop and Midnight Beauty.

Promotional events held across Indonesian retailers by marketing board Taste Australia, tout Australian table grapes for their nutritional value and convenience.

Tasting events will be held throughout April at participating supermarkets including FoodHall, LionSuperindo, Aeon, Frestive, Carrefour and Hypermart.

Hort Innovation trade lead, Dianne Phan, said the short shipping times between Australia and Indonesia meant Aussie grapes were able to get into the Indonesian market quickly and in top condition.

“Australia has an excellent reputation as a supplier of nutritious and high-quality fresh fruit. Our unique, pristine environment makes it the ideal place to grow fresh produce,” she said.

“We are delighted to be able to provide a range of fresh grapes direct from our vineyards to customers in Indonesia.”

 

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

Author: Camellia Aebischer 

Australian veggie exports jump in 2018

Australian fresh vegetable exports rose by 11.4% last year with Singapore retaining its spot as the leading market, while high growth rates were seen for potatoes, onions, broccoli and cauliflower.

The results were released by industry body Ausveg, whose national manager for export development Michael Coote said progress was testament to the hard work of growers who have persevered with the export process.

“The Australian vegetable industry is continuing to experience solid growth in its exports, particularly on the back of strong performing products such as carrots, potatoes and broccoli/cauliflower to different high-value Asian markets,” Coote said.

With the AUD281 million (US$199.5 million) result, the industry only needs another 12% push over two years to hit its 2020 target of AUD315 million (US$223.7 million).

The growth in volume was faster at 15.5% to reach 227,000 metric tons (MT), of which carrots accounted for almost half.

Singapore was the leading market with Australian fresh vegetable imports worth AUD50 million (US$35.5 million), followed by Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand; the latter notably provided a 54% uptick to AUD7.8 million (US$5.5 million).

The broccoli/cauliflower category was the biggest riser with growth of 24% in value to AUD22.5 million (US$16 million) and volume growth of 33.5% to 8,500MT.

Coote added the positive outcome was also the result of Ausveg and the wider industry providing opportunities for growers to increase their capability and opportunities to enter export markets.

“The Vegetable Industry Export Program, which is delivered by AUSVEG in partnership with Hort Innovation, continues to support the solid growth in fresh vegetable exports,” Coote said.

“In 2018, the program facilitated the development of export capabilities for the industry by bringing 40 buyers into Australia to see local production, taking over 40 growers on outbound trade missions, and up-skilling another 40 growers through export readiness training.

“The continued rise in the value of vegetable exports is particularly impressive when you consider that Australian vegetables are typically lower-priced products that are being grown in a high-cost environment, due to the rising costs of labour, electricity and water.”

Coote noted growers were also subject to the effects of fluctuating exchange rates, but nonetheless exports have continued to build.

“The industry is well on its way to reach the ambitious target of AUD$315 million in fresh vegetable exports by 2020 as outlined by the industry’s export strategy,” he said.

“We are working with growers to ensure they have the skills and knowhow to improve their ability to export their produce and capitalise on increasing demand for fresh, Australian-grown vegetable produce.”

Source: Fresh Fruit Portal

Australian vegetable export data shows strong growth

Australian vegetable exports rose by more than 15 percent last year, mainly due to strong international demand. Back home though, retailers and consumers are reporting higher prices than normal for vegetables at the store level.

The export figures, recently released by Ausveg, show fresh vegetable exports grew to $281 million in 2018 on the back of healthy growth in key export markets in Singapore (7.5% value growth), Japan (8.7% value growth) and Thailand (54% value growth).

The total volume of Australian fresh vegetable exports increased 15.5% to 227,000 tons, with increases across most major markets, again including Singapore, Japan and Thailand.

Carrots remained the strongest export performer in 2018 at 113,000 tons, increasing in value by 5.1% to $98m. Some other key vegetable exports included potatoes, onions, celery, broccoli and cauliflower, which all increased in value and volume in 2018.

Ausveg national manager - export development, Michael Coote, said the organisation's Vegetable Industry Export Program, in partnership with Hort Innovation, continues to support the solid growth in fresh vegetable exports.

Coote said the vegetable industry was well on its way to reaching the target of $315m in fresh vegetable exports by 2020 as outlined by the industry's export strategy.

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

BGP restructures management - Prudence Barker takes over as CEO

Prudence Barker takes over as CEO of Australia-based trader, as MD Neil Barker steps up focus on expanding supply for customers in Asia
Leading Melbourne-based fresh produce trading company BGP International has announced management changes in response to strong growth over the past three years.

Expansion in BGP’s citrus and table grape volumes, which the company markets for packers in Australia, Egypt, South Africa, Pakistan, Turkey and the US, has prompted managing director Neil Barker to appoint his daughter Prudence Barker as CEO.

“Prudence is taking on the CEO role, and this will provide me with more time to build and expand our supply programmes for our extensive Asian client base,” explained Neil Barker.

With degrees in law and commerce, Prudence joined BGP International eight years ago after working as a senior consultant for Ernst Young. She has primarily been responsible for BGP's import programmes into Australia.

“Prudence brings a wealth of experience to the CEO role and has the skill set and ability to guide the further development of the business,” said Neil.

BGP International now employs 21 people spread over five countries, and handles over 2,000 containers of fruit annually, servicing over 200 clients, he noted.

“I am confident that my appointment establishes a stable management team for future growth in the business,” said Prudence. “I am looking forward to personally meeting all our suppliers and clients over the next year to further discuss their requirements.”

Neil will remain managing director with direct involvement in the various marketing programmes currently underway for BGP. “Both our packers and clients are extremely important, and I am sure the changes will enable us to continue to improve our service and value to them,” he said.

BGP’s sales team remains unchanged, with managing director Neil Barker, Asia trade manager Cindy Teoh, and export sales manager Patrick McGreesh.

 

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit Author: John Hey

Federal Budget 2019-20: New initiatives for horticultural sector

Australia’s horticultural production is valued at over $12.0 billion and employs 50,000 rural and regional Australians. Horticulture exports were valued at over $2.2 billion in 2016-17.

See below the new initiatives that were announced in the Federal Budget 2019-20. It is good to see the horticultural sector receiving some overdue attention by the Federal Government.

Enhancing Australia’s Agricultural Trade
The Government will invest $29.4 million over four years, commencing in 2019-20, in a further package of measures that will continue to strengthen Australia’s agricultural export trade.


The package comprises:
• $11.4 million over four years to support the further development of an internationally competitive and profitable horticulture sector by continuing work on horticulture market access and improving access to plant genetics and propagative material for Australian growers to promote competitiveness and sustainability;
• $6.8 million to continue the Agricultural Trade and Market Access Cooperation (ATMAC) program from the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper for a further four years from 2019-20. ATMAC has successfully funded industry for cooperation projects that break down technical barriers to trade for exports;
• $6.1 million to extend the Package Assisting Small Exporters to 2020 to assist eligible small exporters to improve their market access. This funding builds on the Government’s 2013 election commitment that provided $15.0 million over four years for projects to improve market access for small exporters.
• $5.1 million over four years to work with industry and importing countries to minimise the impact of non-tariff measures (NTMs) that can act as a barrier to achieving market access into some high-value export markets. The measure will also deliver up to 11 sector-specific reports to identify and prioritise NTMs that restrict market access or form barriers to the export trade.

Australia’s Indo-Pacific Engagement—Enhanced Engagement in Asia
The Government is investing $9.5 million over four years, starting in 2019-20, to strengthen cooperation between Australia and China on agricultural trade and food safety regulation. This work will support Australian farmers and deepen Australia’s long-term engagement with our largest market for agricultural, food, fisheries and forestry exports.

This program is part of a broader package of initiatives, led by the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio, to strengthen Australia’s economic and cultural engagement in the Indo-Pacific region, including with China.

National Agricultural Workforce Strategy
The Government will invest $1.9 million over four years, beginning in 2019-20, to develop a National Agricultural Workforce Strategy.

National Leadership for Agricultural Innovation
The Government is committing $2.9 million over three years, starting in 2019-20, to establish an advisory panel to drive national leadership of agricultural innovation and to better promote transformational, cross-commodity research and development to boost productivity and support long-term jobs in the agriculture sector.

However, it is not all good news.
Horticultural importers will likely be further impacted by poor and worsening levels of services for imports as the budget announces a 5 % reduction in average staffing levels.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources are set to collect over $399 Million in 2019-20 (up to $415 Million in 2022-23) for the provision of quarantine, inspection and certification services for passengers, cargo, mail, animals, plants, and animal or plant products arriving in Australia; and agricultural products exported from Australia. Despite significant increases in the volume, complexity and biosecurity risk of inbound trade the Federal Budget has made not provision for an expansion of the workforce (staff available for this task).

Demand for import inspections on-shore for fresh produce are set to increase 5-fold with the removal of the offshore preclearance inspection program, and limitations of DAWRs service delivery will be further compounded by the increased workload presented by the expansion of BMSB seasonal measures that will increase the surveillance task by approximately 15% in 2019-20.
As the unwilling provider of vital trade services, DAWR believe that IT solutions will be the solution to all of their problems and have announced significant further investments in this area. This is of little direct benefit to those who remain on the phone day in, day out trying to secure inspections for imported produce.

AHEIA continues to work with our major trading partners to advocate for the restoration of the offshore preclearance programme.

More budget news from www.freshplaza.com : Click here

Australian veggie exports jump in 2018

Australian fresh vegetable exports rose by 11.4% last year with Singapore retaining its spot as the leading market, while high growth rates were seen for potatoes, onions, broccoli and cauliflower.

The results were released by industry body Ausveg, whose national manager for export development Michael Coote said progress was testament to the hard work of growers who have persevered with the export process.

“The Australian vegetable industry is continuing to experience solid growth in its exports, particularly on the back of strong performing products such as carrots, potatoes and broccoli/cauliflower to different high-value Asian markets,” Coote said.

With the AUD281 million (US$199.5 million) result, the industry only needs another 12% push over two years to hit its 2020 target of AUD315 million (US$223.7 million).

The growth in volume was faster at 15.5% to reach 227,000 metric tons (MT), of which carrots accounted for almost half.

Singapore was the leading market with Australian fresh vegetable imports worth AUD50 million (US$35.5 million), followed by Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand; the latter notably provided a 54% uptick to AUD7.8 million (US$5.5 million).

The broccoli/cauliflower category was the biggest riser with growth of 24% in value to AUD22.5 million (US$16 million) and volume growth of 33.5% to 8,500MT.

Coote added the positive outcome was also the result of Ausveg and the wider industry providing opportunities for growers to increase their capability and opportunities to enter export markets.

“The Vegetable Industry Export Program, which is delivered by AUSVEG in partnership with Hort Innovation, continues to support the solid growth in fresh vegetable exports,” Coote said.

“In 2018, the program facilitated the development of export capabilities for the industry by bringing 40 buyers into Australia to see local production, taking over 40 growers on outbound trade missions, and up-skilling another 40 growers through export readiness training.

“The continued rise in the value of vegetable exports is particularly impressive when you consider that Australian vegetables are typically lower-priced products that are being grown in a high-cost environment, due to the rising costs of labour, electricity and water.”

Coote noted growers were also subject to the effects of fluctuating exchange rates, but nonetheless exports have continued to build.

“The industry is well on its way to reach the ambitious target of AUD$315 million in fresh vegetable exports by 2020 as outlined by the industry’s export strategy,” he said.

“We are working with growers to ensure they have the skills and knowhow to improve their ability to export their produce and capitalise on increasing demand for fresh, Australian-grown vegetable produce.”

Read more: 

Slowdown, what slowdown?

China's 2018 fresh fruit imports are up 36 per cent over the prior year, despite the country's slowing economic growth
China’s 2018 fresh fruit import figures reflect no signs of the country’s reported economic slowdown, recording a 36 per cent rise in value over the prior year.

According to Fresh Intelligence analysis of the latest China Customs figures, China imported a total of 4.8m tonnes of fresh fruit in 2018, worth US$6.9bn. This is up from the 3.8m tonnes valued at US$5.1bn imported in 2017, and achieved during a year when China recorded its slowest economic growth since 1990.

Imports from Chile, Thailand and the Philippines showed the greatest growth in 2018: up 68 per cent, 67 per cent and 42 per cent respectively in value terms over the previous year, the data showed.

Chile was just ahead of Thailand as the largest supplier by value due to the high prices of its cherries and grapes, Fresh Intelligence’s Wayne Prowse explained. In volume terms Chile ranked fourth after Vietnam (1.23m tonnes), the Philippines (1.16m tonnes) and Thailand (767, 472 tonnes) with 387,728 tonnes in 2018.

Meanwhile, Thai imports increased 67 per cent in value over 2017, and were dominated by durians and mangosteens.

The Philippines ranked third in import value growth terms, with mostly bananas and pineapples, and was followed by Vietnam, with dragonfruit and longans.

New Zealand imports, mostly kiwifruit and apples, saw a 21 per cent growth in value during 2018, while Australia was just behind, dominated by grapes and citrus and showing growth of 19 per cent.

The US slipped to seventh from fifth position in China’s 2018 import value rankings, and was the only major trading partner to lose value by 31 per cent, the figures showed.

The US export decline to China reflects the impact of retaliatory tariffs and stricter customs controls on US imports due to the diplomatic tensions between the two countries, which began in July 2018.

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

Author: Luisa Cheshire

China cherry potential

China offers great export opportunities to Argentine and Australian cherry growers, says Fruta Cloud
China will become a top cherry market for newcomers Argentina and Australia, despite tariff and fumigation challenges, as cherry demand throughout the country grows, predicts Fruta Cloud.

The Shanghai-based B2B imported fruit service provider said mainland Australia, which gained cherry access last year, has a geographical and transport-cost advantage over top cherry supplier Chile. Meanwhile, Argentina, which also gained cherry access last year, can express-ship its cherries by sea three times a week.

Indeed, Fruta Cloud said it was the first company to introduce Argentine cherries to the market this season by supplying Alibaba Group’s Hema supermarkets.

Fruta Cloud said the export opportunities for Australia and Argentina cherries in China out-weigh the challenges, which for Australia include preserving fruit quality after compulsory fumigation, and for Argentina involve a 10 per cent import tariff and a cold-treatment protocol.

“As the demand for cherries is growing stronger, it is believed that China will become one of the most important exporting markets for Argentinian and Australian cherries. Lucky Chinese consumers are provided with more options for cherries,” Fruta Cloud said in a press release.

Chile is currently China’s top Southern Hemisphere cherry supplier, shipping over 15,000 tonnes of cherries via ocean and sea from late October to the end of February, Fruta Cloud said.

“Chilean cherries have been performing well in recent years owing to their outstanding quality, such as large size and good firmness,” the company said in statement. “Thus Chilean cherries win a good reputation among consumers. In addition, the huge marketing investment from [Chilean exporter association] Asoex in China has also played a significant role in this item’s success.”

After years targetting China’s first-tier cities, Chilean cherry exporters are now focusing on the second and third-tier cities, which have great consumption potential, Fruta Cloud added.

Fruta Cloud said it helped Asoex launch Chilean cherries at Shuangfu Wholesale Market in Chongqing in January this year. “This event successfully ignited the passion for Chilean cherries in Midwest China,” Fruta Cloud said.

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

Author: Luisa Cheshire 

Berries Australia: Govt must do more to address labour shortage

Industry body Berries Australia has welcomed the extension of the skilled visa program but says the government needs to go further to address the underlying farm labor shortage.

The change involves moving most agricultural occupations from the short-term list to the regional occupations list which makes visa holders eligible for a four-year visa, double the current term.

Executive director of Berries Australia, Rachel Mackenzie, said that growers in many regions welcomed this decision as the two year turn over for their more senior staff resulted in significant disruption to their businesses.

“However. the government decision only covers skilled occupations and not unskilled labour such as fruit-picking. A new Agriculture Visa or improved Pacific Seasonal Workers program would address farm labour shortages by allowing farmers to hire a dedicated overseas
workforce on a temporary basis,” said Mackenzie.

The US$1.4 billion berry category is now the single largest fresh produce category in Australia and consumption is increasing across the county. To continue to grow, the berry industry needs access to reliable workers and this announcement will go some way toward meeting
these needs.

“Berries Australia is committed to ensuring that growers can access an effective workforce to meet their needs, as part of that we are keen to look at ways to increase the number of Australians employed on farm,” Mackenzie said.

“It may seem counter-intuitive but being able to access the skills we need from overseas means that berry businesses can be more profitable and in turn, employ more locals.”

Source: https://www.freshfruitportal.com 

New standard for fresh produce airfreight

IATA has rolled out CEIV Fresh, a new industry standard designed specifically for air transportation of fruit and veg


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has launched a new industry certification—the Center for Excellence for Perishable Logistics (CEIV Fresh)—to improve the handling and the transport by air of perishable products.

Commenting on the initiative, Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: “Perishable goods is a growing market for air cargo. Ensuring that these delicate and short shelf-life products reach the customer unspoiled with minimal waste and loss is essential. Shippers will have assurance that CEIV Fresh certified companies are operating to the highest quality and standards in the transport of perishable products.”

The specific time and temperature requirements for food and plant products makes the handling and transporting of perishable products challenging, he added. The CEIV Fresh programme meets these exacting requirements primarily based on the IATA Perishable Cargo Regulations (PCR) which combines professional regulatory and operational input from industry and government experts.

Launch partners

The Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK), Cathay Pacific, Cathay Pacific Services Limited (CPSL) and Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (HACTL) were the first organisations to pilot the CEIV Fresh program taking a community approach to certification, the IATA revealed. This unique community approach helps align the needs and responsibilities of all stakeholders involved in the handling of perishable goods, the IATA said.

“We took a community approach to developing CEIV Fresh recognising that the successful shipment requires the alignment of many stakeholders. Shippers can have peace of mind knowing that every entity handling their goods is operating to the same standards. Understanding the value of this to the success of its customers, the Airport Authority Hong Kong pioneered the world’s first CEIV Fresh certified airport community,” said Glyn Hughes, IATA global head of cargo.

Fred Lam, chief executive officer, Airport Authority Hong Kong, added: “We are delighted to be the first airport community worldwide recognised by IATA under the CEIV Fresh programme, which is a big encouragement to and affirmation of the capability of the Hong Kong airport community in handling perishable products. HKIA is the world’s busiest cargo airport since 2010. With the new certification, HKIA is well-placed to capture the increasing growth opportunities in the market for fresh and perishable goods.”

http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit