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China and the great international avocado takeover

The avocado is spreading to every corner of the world. It is difficult to know why the avocado is catching on globally. It may be the influence of the US culinary culture. It could be a result of marketing efforts. It might also just be that in the age of globalization, the most delicious foods will inevitably find their way into the mouths of discerning eaters no matter where they are.

The avocado boom is decades-long in the US. But since 2015, growth in avocado imports to the US have slowed. The rest of the world picked up the slack. For example, imports to China grew from just 154 tons in 2012 to over 31,000 tons in 2017. Data from the first quarter of 2018 suggests the growth continued. Other countries that have seen similar spikes in recent years include Saudi Arabia, Ireland and South Korea.


Read the rest of the article : https://www.freshplaza.com/article/9066889/china-and-the-great-international-avocado-takeover/

Political discord takes its toll: China-Australia trade growth slows

In 2018, the growth of Australia’s trade with China shrank by more than two-thirds. Analysts said on Sunday it remains to be seen how bilateral trade will perform in 2019.

On January 23, China’s General Administration of Customs (GAC) released figures showing that Australia’s trade with China stood at 1 trillion yuan ($149.3 billion), up 8.9 percent year-on-year. That growth figure was nearly 30 percent in 2017. China’s exports to Australia grew 11.4 percent while imports were up 7.8 percent.

The growth rates were dismal compared with 2017, when a free trade agreement boosted bilateral trade and sent the figure up 29.1 percent to 923.41 billion yuan, GAC figures showed. China’s exports to Australia were up 13.9 percent and imports up 37.2 percent during that year, and China held about 30 percent of Australia’s export market.

Experts say the global economic outlook damaged by the China-US trade war was one reason for much slower trade growth between the two countries.

As described on hellenicshippingnews.com, relations between Australia and China have soured since the country accused China in late 2017 of meddling in domestic affairs. The country then in August blocked Chinese telecommunication giant Huawei Technologies Co from supplying 5G equipment.


Publication date : 1/29/2019

Source: www.freshplaza.com 

Australian citrus sees opportunity in Vietnam

Trade figures for Australian citrus exports have shown preference in Vietnam for larger fruit
Citrus Australia trade figures ending November 2018 show Australia had exported a total of 247,000 tonnes, at A$448m (US$320m) in citrus in the 12 months to 30 November.

The industry body said the slight decline in volume was attributed to a lighter mandarin crop out of the northern state of Queensland, compared with 2017, but that export volumes to date were better than previously predicted due to a larger orange crop.

Key markets, China and Japan, took 50 per cent and 18 per cent of the country’s orange exports respectively, with China importing almost a third (30 per cent) of the total mandarin share.

Vietnam also shone through as an emerging market, with export figures continuing to grow. David Daniels, Citrus Australia market development manager said Vietnam was becoming an important market for Australian citrus.

“Vietnamese consumers prefer slightly larger fruit, which complements fruit [sizes] required in other markets,” he said. “Demand in these smaller markets means further opportunities for Australian growers.”

“Key markets in 2018 were China, Japan, the US, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates,” Citrus Australia said in a statement. “Thailand was our second biggest market for mandarins, taking 12 per cent or 7,396 tonnes, while the US took 10 per cent of mandarins or 6,190 tonnes.”

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

Author: Camellia Aebischer

Mexican asparagus in demand

With favourable weather and trade channels clean Mexico’s asparagus traders are enjoying a smooth season ahead
The 2019 Mexican asparagus deal is expected to perform like more of a bell-shaped production curve as opposed to the sharp spike of 2018.

Cold night time temperatures prior to the harvest are what asparagus farmers hope for every year because it forces the plant into dormancy, fortifying for the season just ahead.

“The last of the production out of (Southern) Baja California is just finishing and Peru is directing the last of its volume to Europe so the supply channels are quite clean at the moment,” said Jim Hanson of Grower Direct Marketing, a major importer-exporter of Mexican asparagus.

“Prices are ranging anywhere from US$35 to US$50 on 11lb (5kg) cartons at the moment. Doesn’t matter if it’s standards, large or jumbo – if you’ve got a box of ‘grass it will sell.”

“Last January (2018) was one of the heaviest ever (for shipments),” noted Hanson. “There’s a totally different ‘feel’ to the deal this year as production didn’t get going in any significant way until early February.”

“The bulk of the deal – barring weather – will hit between week 7 (10 February) and week 13 (26 March) this year. The Mexicali Valley will get going around 20 January followed by Caborca (Sonora) a little later. Beginning in early April, however, we’re expecting a significant downturn in production, which probably means very low supplies for Easter (21 April).”

With the current gap in production, shipments all but ceased to Japan during much of January. Since Japan demands a specific grade of asparagus, Hanson expects that exports probably won’t resume until late January or early February.

“It takes another seven to ten days after the domestic deal gets going to have enough asparagus to supply that market.”

 

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

Author: Jeff Long

Costa acquires NCF

Nangiloc Colignan Farm in Sunraysia is now operating under the name Costa Group Colignan Farm
Australian fresh produce giant, Costa Group, has announced its acquisition of Nangiloc Colignan Farm in Australia’s Sunraysia growing region, on17 January.

The citrus and grape operations will now be run under the name Costa Group Colignan Farm and contains young citrus plantings as well as table grapes which will be sold to export markets.

Harry Debney, Costa CEO, said the move will help Costa diversify its supply regions.

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

General manager citrus and grapes, Elliot Jones, said up to a third of the farm’s citrus crop was less than five years old. “The Colignan Farm opens additional growth opportunities for Costa which we will see complement our supply base of long-standing loyal growers,” he said.

The farm contains 567 hectares of citrus and grapes. Of that 240 hectares are made up of citrus, including 103 hectares of Afourer mandarins, 105 hectares of oranges, 204 hectares of table grapes and 123 hectares of wine grapes.

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

Author: Camellia Aebischer 

China’s Crackdown on Daigou, New Cross-Border e-Commerce Policies

China’s crackdown on daigou is part of its moves to strengthen e-commerce regulation and better control the rapidly expanding sector.

Cross-border e-commerce in China has grown steadily in recent years, on the back of strong consumer demand for premium brands and high-quality overseas products.

A significant amount of this shopping is done through the gray channel known in Chinese as ‘daigou’. Literally translated as ‘buy on behalf’, daigou refers to a consumer-to-consumer (C2C) relationship of intermediaries who purchase overseas goods for Chinese consumers for a fee.

iiMedia Research, a Chinese market consultancy, finds that China’s cross-border e-commerce generated RMB 7.6 trillion (US$1.1 trillion) in sales last year. By 2020, the market research firm eMarketer projects that a quarter of the Chinese population will be shopping online for overseas products via cross-border e-commerce websites.

Given this rapid growth and its unregulated nature, the Chinese government is now implementing policies to bring cross-border e-commerce under stricter control while supporting its growth.

China’s crackdown on daigou
From January 1, 2019, daigou merchants are obligated to register and pay taxes. The new law compels daigou merchants to obtain licenses and formally register as businesses. Otherwise, they will be subject to fines as high as RMB 2 million (US$291,620) for illegal business and tax evasion.

Chinese customs have reportedly doubled down on their inspections of daigou merchants at airports, and some have been imprisoned for tax evasion.

By coming down heavily on daigou merchants, the Chinese government aims to collect more taxes from cross-border e-commerce imports. In the past, most daigou merchants declared their imports as personal items to avoid taxes.

Some estimate the daigou practice to be worth tens of billions of dollars a year, meaning that authorities lose tremendous tax revenue on these transactions.

Foreign retailers will also benefit from China’s crackdown on daigou. Before, purchasing through daigou merchants helped consumers save on import duties, giving them an advantage over traditional e-retailers.

With the crackdown, daigou purchases will become pricier, meaning that products sold by foreign retailers will become more competitive for Chinese consumers.

New cross-border e-commerce policies
In late November, the State Council released new policies promoting cross-border e-commerce, which came into effect on January 1, 2019.

According to the policies, China’s Ministry of Finance will add 63 categories of products to the list of goods that are duty-free when purchased via cross-border e-commerce platforms, including popular consumer goods like electronics, small home appliances, food, and healthcare products.

With the new policy, the list of duty-free cross-border e-commerce products covers 1,321 items in total.

Further, the tax-free quota on single transactions will increase by 150 percent from RMB 2,000 (US$291.62) to RMB 5,000 (US$729.05). Consumers buying high-value products shall benefit more from the higher single transaction limit.

China will also loosen the annual quota of individual consumers on cross-border e-commerce to RMB 26,000 (US$3,791.06), up from RMB 20,000 (US$2,916.20) previously. The ministry will increase the annual quota as income grows in the future.

Additionally, China will extend cross-border e-commerce pilot zones to 22 more cities, including Beijing, Nanjing, and Shenyang, bringing the total to 35 cities. Cross-border e-commerce companies enjoy easier customs procedures and supportive policies in these zones.

Implications for China’s e-commerce industry
China’s crackdown on daigou is unlikely to have a significant impact on total cross-border e-commerce consumption.

The new policy initiatives only serve to tighten the tax gap between cross-border platforms and daigou, making the difference in prices between imported goods from cross-border e-commerce platforms and daigou insignificant.

Cross-border e-commerce platforms are the main beneficiary under China’s new policies. Chinese consumers maintain high demand for imported goods that cannot be found on the domestic market. The crackdown on daigou will divert this consumption towards legitimate channels, such as Alibaba’s Tmall Global and NetEase’s Kaola. In the long term, these measures will expand the scale and reach of Chinese e-commerce platforms.

Moreover, consumers in China will benefit from the credibility and authenticity of retailers and their products on cross-border e-commerce platforms due to stricter management, compared to daigou sellers.

Overseas retailers are also likely to welcome China’s push for regulation of daigou.

Products sold by daigou have generally evaded import taxes, which put them at a competitive advantage over legitimate sellers that paid taxes on their products. Given the online commerce push by major foreign retailers like Sainsbury and Walmart, the transparency in regulation is a positive development.

On their part, daigou merchants will adopt a wait-and-see attitude toward China’s new e-commerce policies. Most of them will likely take a break from daigou activities in the short term and see whether authorities continue to enforce the new policies.

Combined with the new e-Commerce Law, which also took effect on January 1, China is aiming to improve oversight and regulation of its e-commerce market.

Those selling via legitimate cross-border e-commerce channels in China will benefit from expanded preferential policies and support against gray-area competitors and counterfeiters.

 

Source: https://www.china-briefing.com

Written byFrank Ka-Ho Wong

Northern Australia launches initiative to boost mango exports to China

There is a new Australian initiative, joining experts and producers to boost the export of North Australian mangoes by some 200 percent.

The 1.6-million US dollar undertaking was announced on Monday and will be led by the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA), involving Australia's leading Calypso mango exporter Perfection Fresh (Perfection), the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) and the University of Queensland (UQ).

Northern Territory project manager Sally Leigo from the CRCNA told Xinhua that a number of new mango plantations being established in the region have prompted the industry to look for new and innovative export avenues. Key to the new strategy will be moving from airfreight to sea freight, allowing for a larger amount of produce to be moved, but creating the distinct problem of maintaining freshness during the 18-day journey from Brisbane to China.

"An issue that the team in this project certainly want to tackle is, how can you maintain the quality of that fresh mango throughout the transportation and various handling procedures once it arrives," Leigo said. "A key with mangoes is making sure they don't ripen too quickly during the transportation process."

Because the ripeness process is affected by heat, the team intend to use data loggers to monitor the temperatures within refrigeration units, with information being sent via satellite to make sure that the fruit is at its best when it arrives.

Leigo said the success of the project will mean Chinese consumers are able to enjoy even more of this coveted fruit counter-season to their own market. The project is expected to be completed by mid-2021.


Publication date : 1/15/2019
Source: www.freshplaza.com

Lemons quite pricey in Australia right now

Lemon prices have gone soaring because of the weak Australian dollar; local supermarkets are selling the fruit at top dollar. Lemons in Woolworths and Coles are selling for as much as $2 each, or $8.80 per kilo, at a time of year when the fruit is most popular. The normal retail price is about $3.99-4.99 per kilo.

Lemons are always slightly more expensive during the Australian summer because they are imported from the United States, Citrus Australia chairman Ben Cant said: “ There's some Australian lemons around, but it isn't enough to meet demand so we import from the US and a limited amount from Spain. The exchange rate in the US is making it more expensive than the normal Australian fruit.”

"The light supply also coincides with higher demand ... because [there is] more use for them in recipes and drinks and alcohol at this time of year. The few Australian growers who have fruit at the moment, they'll be getting good money but they won't have a lot of lemons."

Cant said prices would come down in March when more Australian lemons were ready to be picked. "As soon as Australian fruit is available we ask consumers to help us out and get back on board. We can't beat Mother Nature.”

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


Publication date : 1/9/2019

Early engagement core to market access in China

With market access negotiations underway for Australian mainland apples and strong progress made towards the launch of Pink Lady® in China, Apple and Pear Australia Limited (APAL) are doubling down on their efforts to forge relationships in the region.

“This is our third visit to mainland China in the last 12 months,” said Andrew Hooke, APAL Director Global Development, of the team’s November trip. “Market access is probably still some time away, but we are doing all that we can to accelerate this by articulating the benefits to China and generating excitement around our product.”

The most recent visit coincided with the China Fruit & Vegetable Fair where Australian fresh produce was appreciated by Chinese officials at the trade display hosted by Hort Innovation and Taste Australia.

During the visit, APAL also participated in the 2018 International Seminar on Inspection Technical Cooperation sponsored and hosted by China Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Association (CIQA).

“CIQA plays an important role in securing access for Australian mainland apples so it was quite an honour to have APAL’s own Head of Global Quality and Innovation, Andrew Mandemaker, invited to address the delegates,” explained Andrew. The prestigious event was attended Professor Guo Lisheng, Senior Advisor of CIQA; Mr Paul McNamara, Minister Counsellor from the Australian Embassy; and Mr Adam Balcerak Department of Agriculture.

In addition to informal discussions, APAL was also asked to present to the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China.

“We are building the business case for the size and sophistication of the Australian apple industry and its value to the Chinese consumer, every chance we get.”

“The quality of the existing commercial relationships between APAL and Chinese government officials and business partners, reinforces our commitment to an industry partnership, which will be a key driver for the Chinese government supporting market access,” said Andrew.

For more information:
Apple and Pear Australia Limited
Phone: +61 3 9329 3511
Fax: +61 3 9329 3522
Email: ea@apal.org.au
www.apal.org.au


Publication date : 1/9/2019

Source: www.freshplaza.com 

AU: Expanded labour options, but some new laws too

A lot has changed on the labour front since last harvest. Rob Hayes, Victorian State Manager of the National Harvest Labour Information Service (NHLIS) provides an update on changes to labour law, labour-hire licensing and visa flexibility and a word of advice to growers to take care they know and comply with newly-introduced laws.

The last few months have seen many changes to the way harvest labour can be sourced and paid. Most of this is good for growers with several programs expanded, new ones introduced and some red tape removed, however other changes will mean growers need to remain vigilant and make sure they comply with some newly introduced laws.


A brief summary of some of the changes either proposed or underway follows:

Horticulture Award changes are on the way
The lengthy process to review the conditions of the Horticulture Award is getting closer to completion, with draft determinations recently released by the Fair Work Commission. The main areas likely to impact horticulture producers are the inclusion of overtime provisions for casuals and introduction of a minimum two hour engagement for casual workers. At this stage it seems that piece rate workers will not be subject to overtime payments but this will not be clarified until the final determination is made and at this stage it is now known when the new award conditions will be enacted.


Labour hire licensing update
Labour hire licensing laws are in different stages of implementation in the three states that had indicated they were going to implement them. A brief summary for each state follows:

Changes to Seasonal Worker Program
The Seasonal Worker Program which allows workers from a number of Pacific Islands as well as PNG and Timor-Leste is growing rapidly and these workers now make up a large portion of some businesses seasonal labour (Figure 1), and indications are that over 8,000 visas were granted in 2017/18. The main reason for the popularity of this program is the high work ethic and the ability to get the same workers back year after year.

To make this program even more attractive for growers, the Commonwealth Government recently announced a number of changes.

Working Holidaymakers – major changes underway
Working Holiday Makers, or Backpackers, are critical to getting fruit and vegetables harvested in Australia and any reduction or increase in the number or these workers available or changes to the countries they come from can have major implications for growers.

 

READ THE FULL ARTICLE ON FRESH PLAZA

For more information:
Harvest Trail
Tel: +61 1800 062 332


Publication date : 1/9/2019

Japan and Australia to try out year-round fruit production

Project will take advantage of seasonal difference to grow high-end products for export
TOKYO -- Japan and Australia will start as early as April a joint project to harvest high-end fruit all year round, taking advantage of two countries' seasonal differences.

The two countries will contribute farmland, personnel and technology for the project, which is also aimed at encouraging businesses to participate in the unique farming structure.

The two governments mean to develop new markets for luxury produce, which will be targeted at wealthy consumers in China and Southeast Asia.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison agreed on a plan to proceed with building a cooperative structure at a summit in November 2018. The two leaders "recognized the potential for the two countries to boost agricultural exports into international markets through cooperation on bilateral counter-seasonal production," according to a joint statement released after the meeting.

The deal will enable Japanese farmers, who usually grow fruit in summer and fall, to also grow them in Australia when Japan is in winter, allowing them to harvest in all seasons. As the two countries have little time difference, farmers in one can monitor farms in the other in real time using video and provide instructions to staff on site.


The project will start in the northeastern Australian town of Ayr, where melons will be grown on a farm to be set up using land and greenhouses provided by the Australian side.

Japan will dispatch private-sector farmers from rural areas, including Fukuoka Prefecture, to the farm to provide necessary technological assistance and train local staff on farming the fruit.

The farmers will try Japanese farming techniques on an Australian melon variety and see if they can achieve the required quality and sugar content.

The project will seek to set up farms in other areas of the northeastern state of Queensland, where Ayr is located. They will also grow Japanese persimmons and strawberries.

By leading the project, the two countries aim to lay the groundwork for the year-round production scheme to encourage private-sector businesses to enter the unique farming scheme.

The first crop of fruit will be sent for quality inspections in Singapore and Thailand to see if they are viable for sale.

The two countries' interests could collide in rice, beef and dairy production, possibly spurring complaints from farmers on both sides. Therefore, they decided to cooperate in luxury fruit because there should be less overlap.

The cooperation could also attract new demand, including for the gift market. In 2017, Japan exported nearly 40,000 tons of fruit overseas, worth about 20 billion yen ($184 million). The total export volume and value have jumped 160% and 250%, respectively, over the past five years.

As the economies grow, high-income groups are increasing in China and ASEAN countries. With the luxury fruit market expanding, Ginza Sembikiya and other fruit distributors can expect more profit by selling luxury fruit year-round.

Japan and Australia are cooperating in more than luxury fruit. The two countries are jointly conducting a large shrimp farming project in the Northern Territory. In March 2017, Japan signed a memorandum with the government of Queensland to develop a new variety of soybeans starting in April 2018.

The northern part of the country is less populated and developed. The Australian government hopes Japan's technical cooperation will boost development in the area, which includes a third of the country's land.

 

Source: https://asia.nikkei.com

Author: SAKI HAYASHI

 

Tasmania declared fruit fly-free

Fruit growers in restricted mainland state zones will be able to again trade produce freely outside the zone
Following the discovery of Queensland fruit fly in northern mainland Tasmania in early 2018, regulation in control zones to stop the movement of fruit fly host produce has been lifted.

The lift was officially declared at 12:01am on 9 January after six months without a detection.

Local and domestic trade has reopened for the region around Devonport in Tasmania’s north allowing the normal movement of host produce to resume. However, it will take official recognition from international trading partners to resume treatment-free export.

Biosecurity Tasmania said in a release it was working closely with the Australian Government to finalise technical information for trading partners to reopen international markets.

Australia’s assistant minister for agriculture, Richard Colbeck told ABC News that some countries may send representatives to Tasmania to inspect before recognising the pest-free status and noted Indonesia would likely not be ready until February.

“Indonesia have indicated to us they recognise we are coming to the end of this period,” he said. “They've said that they have a window available for us at the end of January for us to present our data to them.”

Late last year a detection of fruit fly was made on Tasmania’s Furneaux group of islands off the island-state’s north coast. Due to this, control zones still remain on the islands until March pending no further detections, however, the islands are not significant commercial production areas.

Regular fruit fly monitoring protocols will now resume, including checks of traps across the trapping grid.

In late November the Australian government pledged A$16.9m in funding toward new technology to provide advanced warnings of fruit fly movements across the nation.

 

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com

Author: Camellia Aebischer