Australia’s orange exports surge 27% on back of growing Chinese demand
Citrus production is a major horticultural sector in Australia and a leading export product. In 2017/17 the country’s production of fresh oranges is forecast to be 480,000 tons, the same as the previous year, assuming average seasonal conditions and the availability of moderately priced irrigation water. More than 20,000 ha. of orange orchards have been planted in Australia, of which around 12,000 ha. are Navels, with the remainder being Valencia trees. Australia is a counter-seasonal exporter of mainly Navel oranges to north-Asian markets, such as China and Japan. The US exports Navel oranges to these markets during Australia’s off-season from December to February. Orange exports are expected to hit 230,000 tons for 2017/18, constituting a 27% increase from 2016/17 driven mostly by growing demand from China. China is now Australia’s largest export market, overtaking Japan. In November 2017, China agreed to amend its import conditions for Australian citrus, so the prospects are good for future exports. The new import conditions recognise South Australia’s Riverland region as free from fruit flies and it requires Australian exporters to utilise colder disinfestation temperatures.