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Australian citrus bounces back!

Australian citrus bounces back!

Australia’s citrus crop is expected to bounce back in 2021 due to much-needed rains in 2020 in most citrus-producing regions. The 2020/21 orange crop is estimated at 535,000 tons, and tangerine/mandarin production is projected to reach 175,000 tons, both representing around a 10% rise from a difficult 2019/20, according to FAS/Canberra data. The citrus industry is concerned about labour availability during 2021 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Federal and state governments are working with the industry to try and mitigate this impact.

Orange exports are forecast at 195,000 tons, up 3% from 2019/20, while tangerine/mandarin exports are expected to surge by 29% to 80,000 tons. The major export destination for Australian oranges is China, accounting for 35-50% of the total. Total Chinese imports of oranges over the last five years have increased by 169%, which still falls some way short of Egypt’s growth in the Chinese market. Tense trade relations with China have created some concern among Australian citrus exporters.

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Upcoming webinar: The future of integrated weed management in vegetable farming

Upcoming webinar: The future of integrated weed management in vegetable farming

© Applied Horticultural Research

 

Integrated weed management (IWM) is vital for getting on top of weed problems in vegetable production. It involves combining all appropriate weed control options in a coordinated, supportive and flexible way.

Applied Horticultural Research is holding the last of a series of three webinars, during which the weed teams from University of New England and Soil Wealth will discuss the findings from their Hort Innovation-funded project – a strategic approach to weed management for the Australian vegetable industry (VG15070):

Webinar 3: IWM for veg growers – the future | 1pm-2pm (AEDT) Thursday 4 February: This webinar will look into the future of IWM and how new innovations can benefit the vegetable industry.

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Strong growth forecast for Australian avocado 

Strong growth forecast for Australian avocado 

 

Australia’s avocado industry keeps growing, reaching record volumes in the 2019/20 campaign. According to data published by Avocados Australia, avocado production was up 2% to 87,546 tons, and worth AUS$15.9million. While domestic consumption fell slightly to $845million, exports rose by over 25% in value to $25million.

South Australia and Victoria/Tasmania recorded much-improved production figures, following sharp drops in 2018/19. Meanwhile, South Australia (2,448 tons) and Victoria/Tasmania (2,203 tons) had their best ever seasons. However, in main avocado-producing state Queensland, output was down 8% to 43,069 tons, and production in New South Wales slumped by almost 50% to 6,587 tons.

Hass remains the main avocado variety produced across Australia, representing 80% of production. The Shepard variety accounts for 17%, with other varieties making up the remaining 3% including Lamb Hass, Reed, Wurtz, Gwen, Sharwil, Fuerte, Pinkerton, Gem, and Bacon.

Australian production is projected to continue growing strongly over the next few years, with crops of at least 115,000 tons per annum expected by 2025. 

 

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Australia targets European organic markets

Australia targets European organic markets © tradeorganic.au
© tradeorganic.au

 

The Australian government has taken a further step to promote the country’s organic agriculture by providing €60,000 in funding for industry body Australian Organics to support exporters targeting German, Swedish and UK markets. Australian Organics will use the grant to support trade of organic products through a national education programme, which will include a series of webinars on a new online platform.

David Littleproud, Australia’s minister for agriculture, said the sessions will provide free resources and information to certified organic operators interested in targeting Europe. “On 20 October, Australian Organic will launch its export country-specific webinar series to be conducted virtually via Zoom. These initial webinars held over three days will focus on Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom, all potentially lucrative markets for our farmers of certified organic produce. Each webinar will cover a range of export-related content including market selection strategies, market access, organic certification and market specific consumer trends.”

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Chilean avocados gain foothold in Australia 

Chilean avocados gain foothold in Australia 

Chile’s first avocado campaign exporting to Australia has already seen almost 150 tons of Hass shipped across the Pacific. On August 4th, Chile became only the second country, after New Zealand, to be authorised to export fresh Hass avocados to the Australian market. Data published by ASOEX (Association of Fruit Exporters), Chile has sent 148 tons of Hass avocados to Australia since Chile’s export season began on September 1st. Australians are among the world’s largest consumers of avocado, consuming 3.8 kilos per capita each year.

Since September 1st, Chile has exported 25,967 tons of Hass avocados to the world. Europe is the main market, accounting for 81.3% of the volume, followed by Latin America (9.7%), Asia (5.7%), and the US (3.4%).

 

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Australia expects yet another record season for grapes

Australia expects yet another record season for grapes

A record table grape is projected for Australia’s 2020/21 campaign, with output up 7% to 240,000 tons. As FAS Canberra reports, the rising production that the country has recorded in recent years is due to vines reaching maturity. Over the past decade, table grape production has grown by 142%.  Exports in 2020/21 are forecast up 10% to 168,000 tons. Over 50% of production is for export, with a record 152,500 tons shipped overseas in 2019/20, thanks to expanded exports to China and Southeast Asia, despite COVID-19- related shipping disruptions and a lack of pickers. Australia is the third-largest grape supplier to China, after Chile and Peru.

In addition, high returns driven by strong export demand in recent years have encouraged plantings and conversion of wine grape areas to table grape vine plantings.  The table grape industry estimates about a 20% increase in annual plantings in recent years, but they anticipate a decline in the rate of new plantings in coming years, although output should continue to grow for some time still.  

Photo: http://canberragrapes.net.au/

 

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Australian peach and nectarine exports hit by higher freight costs

Australian peach and nectarine exports hit by higher freight costs

Australia’s 2020/21 stone fruit crop is projected to recover from a challenging 2019/20 season. Cherry production is predicted to increase by 14%, and peaches and nectarines by 4%, according to FAS USDA data. However, disruptions to international air freight caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to have a significant impact on MY 2020/21 exports of stone fruits. To support the sector, the Australian government has created an International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) programme to help exporters secure air freight and sustain increased shipping costs.  However, even with government support, freight costs for exporters are still more than double the levels pre-COVID. As a result, exports of higher-valued fruit such as cherries are expected to be less impacted than lower-valued fruit such as peaches and nectarines. Exports of peaches and nectarines are forecast to decline by 17% in 2020/21, with peach exports the most hit as they tend to be shipped more frequently by than nectarines due to their softer flesh. By contrast, cherry exports are forecast to increase by 12% due to the larger expected crop and the high value of the product.  The combination of larger expected crops and logistical obstacles to export are anticipated to cause domestic consumption of stone fruit to rise.

 

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Australia’s organic farming receives funding boost

Australia’s organic farming receives funding boost © Woolworths
© Woolworths

 

Woolworths Organic Growth Fund has awarded $1 million in grants and interest-free loans to four organic farms across Australia. The funding enables the producers to upgrade production systems and develop expansion plans, ensuring that they remain sustainable into the future. 

The four recipients in this second funding round are Gingin Organics, N&A Group, Biofarms Australia and Pairingi Farms, which grow a wide range of fruit and vegetable varieties in Western Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania. The $30 million Fund was established in 2018, and has committed to a five-year partnership with Heritage Bank to help Australian growers meet the increasing consumer demand for organic fruit and vegetables.

Woolworths Head of Produce, Paul Turner, said, “We’re seeing double digit growth in customer demand for organic fruit and vegetables, and believe the trend will only continue over coming years. We’re particularly interested in working with conventional growers who are looking to diversify crops and convert to organic production.

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Efforts made to boost Australian-Vietnam trade 

Efforts made to boost Australian-Vietnam trade 

 

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions have been placed on Australian produce entering Vietnam. However, following a meeting last week between Vietnam’s Minister of Industry and Trade, Tran Tuan Anh, and Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Simon Birmingham, Vietnam has vowed to remove the obstacles, according to Vietnam Plus. The two ministers agreed on ways to work together to restore supply chains of the major partners.

An agreement was reached regarding the resumption of shipping and airfreight between the two countries, with great effort to be placed on diversifying supply chains so they are less dependent on certain suppliers. Anh said in order to enhance bilateral cooperation, the two countries ought to utilise existing free trade agreements, as well as strengthen trade promotions and partnerships. Vietnam has requested fast-tracked access to the Australian markets for Vietnamese exports of fresh fruits such as passion fruit and dragon fruit.

Despite the obstacles, trade between the partners was up 13.4% in the first three months of 2020, surpassing US$2 billion. Australian exports to Vietnam rose 15% to almost US$1.1 billion, while Vietnam’s exports to Australia rose 11.6% to US$924.4 million.

Photo: Vietnam Plus.

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GP Graders Shipping Worldwide in 2020

GP Graders Shipping Worldwide in 2020, © GP Graders
© GP Graders
 
30 March 2020, Melbourne, Australia 

GP Graders, based in Melbourne, Australia, is open and in full production, meeting orders for the 2020 season.  The Australian Federal Government is unlikely to impose measures which would see any slowdown of the manufacturing sector. “We are all healthy, all at work and undertaking overtime to get the jobs out the door,” says Stuart Payne, Director of GP Graders.

With most of Europe in lockdown and unable to fulfil customer orders, Australia is unlikely to face the same restrictions in the manufacturing sector. Australia being a more sparsely populated country with generally healthier people, bears little comparative similarities with Europe or China, where the outbreak of COVID-19 is at its most rampant. In fact, the infection curve in Australia is already showing signs of flattening with relatively few contracted cases and even fewer deaths.

With Europe closed, GP Graders’ sales enquiries for its AirJet® Vision range of grading software and machinery have been skyrocketing. 

“If this COVID-19 virus has taught us anything, it’s that it’s time to automate and take labour out of the equation. If a machine does a better job than a person, then buy the machine, it’s simple,” says Mr Payne. 

In the past week GP Graders have taken orders for sorting and packing machinery for apples, mangoes, cherry tomatoes, blueberries and cherries. 

“With the success of its AirJet Vision® technology, 2020 was on track to be a very good year but with this upturn in sales, it now appears it will be the best year yet for the company.”

 For order fulfilment this year in 2020, contact: https://www.gpgraders.com

 Australasian Regional Office and Global Headquarters: +61 3 9585 9444

 North American Regional Headquarters: +1 (509) 630 2383

South American Regional Headquarters: +56 9 4415 2630

 

About GP Graders

GP Graders are world leaders in the design and manufacture of small produce grading technology. With global headquarters based in Melbourne, Australia, GP Graders meets the needs of fruit producers around the world. Renowned for unmatched ingenuity, GP Graders’ newest innovation, AirJet Vision technology has increased profitability and production for clients everywhere.

GP Graders focus on gentle handling, so produce is delivered fresh and unharmed. GP Graders’ machinery is designed and built with an emphasis on speed, accuracy and reliability. GP Graders machinery significantly reduces operating costs and achieves higher quality grading standards that satisfy domestic and export markets. For more information please visit www.gpgraders.com.

 

Source: Press release