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Australia and Japan partner up to grow fruit

New Australian project for protected cropping 

Australia and Japan have signed an agreement to work together to ensure year-round supply of fruit. At a summit in November 2018, the Australian and Japanese prime ministers agreed to devise a cooperative fruit supply programme, to take advantage of the two countries’ complementarily opposing seasons. Australian producers in the north-eastern town of Ayr will grow a local variety of melons using Japanese growing techniques to reproduce the quality and flavour that Japanese consumers prefer. The project will include a contribution from each country of farmland and technical personnel. Farmers will be able to monitor production via video link and offer instructions to staff onsite. Other products to be grown in the Ayr region include persimmon and strawberries, which will be exported to Asian markets. The aim is to target the gifting fruit culture that is growing among Asia’s expanding middle class. Australia chose Ayr as its production region in a bid to drive economic development in the area.

 

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Ecuador’s banana exports drop 13%

Ecuador exportaciones semanales

Prices of Ecuador’s bananas have fallen as poor market conditions have led to lower exports (13% below average). The situation in Russia is particularly bad, with extremely low prices. The Spanish market price is more positive due to the supply deficit in the Canary Islands. In Weeks 1-21 of 2018, the average market price on Ecuador’s domestic market was up 1% compared to the same period of the previous year.

Meanwhile, Australian banana producers are looking at the possibility of exporting to the Philippines with import protocols in the pipeline. However, industry experts are doubtful about the current state of the Australian domestic banana market, with low demand causing an oversupply and a lowering of profits. Production costs are considered to be rather high in Australia, thereby impeding the country’s producers’ efforts to compete on the international scene.

 

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Could Australian producers benefit from China-US trade war?

manzana australia

Experts are suggesting that the Australia may prove the main beneficiary of the US-China trade war, particularly when it comes to sales of apples and cherries, with China imposing a 15% tariff on both of the fruit. Overall, China’s tariff hikes could affect up to 25% of US agriculture, from which Australia’s wine and nut producers may also stand to gain. In 2017, around 40% of Australia’s fruit exports went to China and Hong Kong, while goods arriving from Chile, New Zealand and South Africa are also very popular. However, as the cherry and apple harvest are still several few months away, the dispute may be over without really affecting US exports to China. If not, the damage to the US fruit industry, especially Washington’s apple and cherry growers, could be devastating, Indeed, last year, China became the top importer of cherries from the state.

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Chile’­s exports of avocados to Australia move a step closer

DSCF4212 Hass avocado on the tree

A review of biosecurity import requirements is now underway to determine the viability of Chile’s exports of avocado to Australia and should be ready by the end of 2018. A preliminary assessment of Chilean avocados found potential pests are the same as those previously assessed by the department for other horticultural products, meaning no further risk management measures should be required for avocado imports.

If Chile’s application is accepted, the country’s producers will most likely ship to Australia during the summer months, when demand usually outstrips supply, especially in January and February.  However, there are a lot of new plantings in Australia, which have yet to reach full maturity. So, it remains to be seen whether there will be sustained demand for imported fruit.

 

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Australia set for 230,000 ton orange export record

Australia’s orange exports are expected to reach a record of 230,000 tons in 2016/17.

Australia’s orange exports are expected to reach a record of 230,000 tons in 2016/17, up 10.6% on the previous year.

Greater demand in North Asian markets and higher production in Australia are key factors in this rise, according to a new USDA Gain report.

Australia is a competitive counter-seasonal supplier to northern hemisphere markets such as Indonesia, China, Japan, Korea and the US.

Oranges account for around 80% of its citrus exports. Its navel orange exports run from June to October.

Australian exporters have benefited from lower tariffs in key markets such as Japan, Korea and China following bilateral free trade agreements, the report also says.

Imports

Australia imports fresh oranges, predominantly from the US, during its summer. It is estimated to have imported 30,000 tons in 2015/16 and a similar amount is forecast for 2016/17.

Production

Australia’s fresh orange production in 2016/17 is forecast by the USDA’s post to rise 4% to 470,000 tons due to good seasonal conditions and improved water access.

Domestic sales account for more than half of the total orange production and are usually made direct to large supermarket chains or through the country’s central fruit market system.

Over 20,000ha of orange orchards have been planted in Australia, of which 12,000ha are to grow Navel oranges for eating, and the rest Valencia for juice production. Many growers are moving away from the Valencia varieties, because of low prices for orange juice, and towards eating varieties such as Navels, which attract higher returns.

Another trend involves consumer preferences gradually moving away from older orange varieties and towards sweeter and easier to peel seedless citrus varieties and some new varieties of navel orange, the report says.

Source: Australia Citrus Annual, GAIN Report, December 2016

 

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Record exports of Australian grapes

Australian growers need to supply fruit with high sugar content, crisp berries and consistent bunch colour in order to command a premium price over the significant volumes being produced by Chile

Experts believe Japan could easily become Aus­tralia’s second-biggest trading partner after China, according to Australian Table Grape Association CEO Jeff Scott.

Scott said there has been growth in only two categories in the Japanese fresh produce market — table grapes and kiwifruit, reports The Weekly Times.

Japan is currently the fourth-largest export market for Australian table grapes and this year exports there are up 406% on the previous year.

Indeed, Australia’s table grape exports have taken off in general this year.

The country’s 2015-16 table grape export season has seen 108,594 tons exported by the end of May with an estimated value of AUD $364 million, up 32% on the same time last season.

China is the top destination, followed by Indonesia.

Scott stressed the importance of product differentiation in allowing Australian grape growers to compete with those in Chile, South Africa and Peru.

Australian growers need to supply fruit with high sugar content, crisp berries and consistent bunch colour in order to command a premium price over the significant volumes being produced by Chile, he said

Source: Table grapes in price spike as exports take off, Shannon Twomey, The Weekly Times

 

 

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Nearly 10% growth in lemon sales in Australia

‘Non-supermarkets’ accounted for a 20% share of lemon sales over the 12 month period.

More than half of all Australian households purchased lemons in the year to June 11.

This household penetration rate of 52.8% for the 12 month period was up slightly on that of 50.9% for the previous year, according to Nielsen Homescan Australia.

The value of lemon sales grew 9.15% over the same period and the volume by 9.15%.

Woolworths are the market leader with 34% share of lemon sales with Coles sitting at 27.1% share for the 12 month period.

But Nielsen said greengrocers continue to be an important channel in the Australian market. ‘Non-supermarkets’ accounted for a 20% share of lemon sales over the 12 month period.  This is larger than the combined shares of both ALDI and IGA.

Image: By Evan-Amos – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36765074

 

 

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Australians buying less but paying more for grapes

Nearly 76% of Australian households purchased grapes in the year to June 11, down from 80.1% in the year prior.

Nearly 76% of Australian households purchased grapes in the year to June 11, down from 80.1% for the year prior.

Nielsen Homescan Australia figures also show that in terms of value, grape sales in Australia grew 4.17% over the same period, however, they slumped 18.1% in volume.

Nielsen said that out of white (green), red and black grapes, white grapes have the highest penetration, with 67.9% of Australian households purchasing them in the twelve months to June 11, compared to 73.1% the year prior. The spend on white grapes increased 9.1% but the volume sold at retail dropped 15.6%.

Over the same period, two in every five Australian households purchased red grapes and nearly a quarter bought black grapes.

Both the value and volume of red grapes declined, by 8% and 26.4% respectively, while for black grapes, the value was up 3.85% but the volume down 15.9%.

While Coles accounted for a 33.0% share of Australia’s grapes sales, closely followed by rival Woolworths with a 32.5% value share, Nielsen said greengrocers continue to be an important channel in the Australian market. ‘Non-supermarkets’ accounted for a 16.9% share of grape sales over the 12 month period, making for a larger share than the combined shares of both ALDI and IGA, it said.

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Fresh cherries the first import under China-Australia FTA

A consignment of 1.2 tons of fresh cherries from Australia formed the first import into China under the China-Australia free trade agreement (FTA), signed last June and coming into effect on December 20, 2015.

The first import consignment under the China-Australia free trade agreement (FTA), signed last June, was granted entry into China on December 21, reports China’s customs agency GACC.

“Shanghai Customs District, by using a green clearance channel, fast released 1.2 tons of fresh cherries from Australia on declaration by Shanghai Esen Agro Products Company.

“It can be expected that Australian share will grow a lot at even more competitive prices on Shanghai fruit market,” said Huang Xianhua, general manager of Shanghai Ouheng Import & Export Co., Ltd. The GACC said the duty reduction thanks to the FTA will aid the expansion in the Chinese market of Australian fruit, given it is “reportedly…higher in quality but more pricey due to higher labour costs.”

According to Shanghai Customs’ statistics, over January–November 2015, 586,000 tons of fruit, worth US$ 880 million, were imported into Shanghai under preferential trade agreements, making for a 21.7% increase in volume and 37.2% in value year-on-year. A total of 10 countries/regions of origin benefited from China’s duty preferences.

With the coming into force of the China-Australia FTA on December 20, “Chinese consumers can enjoy cheaper Australian commodities like beef, mutton, dairy products, wine, lobsters, and fruits,” the GACC said.

“For Chinese exporters, zero-duty HS Codes and trade volume offered by Australia will finally achieve 100%, duty reduction transition to end in 5 years. Thus both Chinese products and exporters can get a lot of opportunities to broaden overseas market.”

source: First Import under China-Australia FTA Clears Customs

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Record orange exports forecast for Australia

Australia’s citrus industry is export-oriented and has a competitive advantage in Northern Hemisphere markets such as Indonesia, China, Japan, Korea and the US.

Australia’s orange exports for 2015/16 are forecast to reach a record of 190,000 tons – up 31% on the previous season – due to increases in production and demand and lower tariffs in key markets such as Japan and China, according to a new GAIN report. The citrus industry is one of Australia’s foremost horticultural industries and the largest exporter of fresh fruit, it says.

Australia’s citrus industry is export-oriented and has a competitive advantage in Northern Hemisphere markets such as Indonesia, China (now Australia’s third-largest citrus export destination), Japan, Korea and the US. As these exports are counter-seasonal, they do not compete with locally produced fruit.

In recent years, the US has become a less important market for Australian citrus exports, which have refocused on Asia.

Last year, Australia’s newly-signed free trade agreements with China, Japan and Korea were ratified with significant benefits expected for citrus exporters which may now be more competitive with US citrus exporters into these markets, GAIN says.

Citrus imports into Australia

Australia imports fresh oranges over its summer season, when there is no domestic production. Fresh oranges are predominantly Imported from the US. Australian growers previously had a dominant share of the US market for imported out-of-season navel oranges (from May to September). Sales peaked at 30,000 tons in 2007 but have dropped to under 10,000 tons due to the strong Australian dollar and significant competition from South Africa, Chile and Peru in the US market.

Production

Australia’s 2015/16 fresh orange harvest is forecast at 455,000 metric tons, slightly above the previous year. Good seasonal conditions and improved access to water irrigation in recent years have supported production.

The main Australian orange varieties are Navel and Valencia, with the former usually sold fresh and 90% of the latter used to produce juice. In the last decade, growers have continued to switch away from Valencia oranges and towards Navel oranges and mandarins for the fresh fruit market.

source: USDA GAIN report AS1530, Australia Citrus Annual 2015, January 12, 2016