Providing leadership to support and strengthen Australia's trade in horticultural produce.


3,250 cartons of Manbulloo mangoes grown in North Queensland set sail for Asia today from the Port of Townsville in refrigerated containers on Mariana Express Lines’ Kota Nasrat container vessel.

Manbulloo’s Quality and Export Manager Scott Ledger said that the export shipment was a great milestone for the business.

“Our team have been very busy heat-treating and packing mangoes over the past week at Manbulloo’s facility in Giru ready for export,” said Mr Ledger.

“Packing the mangoes directly into the refrigerated container at the packhouse, then exporting out of the Port of Townsville, means there is less physical handling of mangoes and the time in the supply chain is shorter, giving us greater control and confidence to deliver high quality mangoes to our customers,” he said.

The mangoes undergo vapour heat treatment at Manbulloo’s facility for control of fruit fly, which is a requirement for export to China, South Korea and Japan.

“Other strict quarantine requirements must be followed including registration of the mango orchards for export, completion of a phytosanitary inspection of the packed mangoes and supervision of the loading of the container by a government Authorised Officer.”

To provide extra storage life, the atmosphere inside the containers is modified using the MAXtend system supplied by Mitsubishi Australia.

“The packhouse is only 50 minutes by road to the Port of Townsville where Northern Stevedoring Services (NSS) arrange all the logistics for us,” he said.

“Controlled atmosphere sea freight is cheaper than sending mangoes via air to overseas markets, which will help Manbulloo to capture the opportunity to expand exports to Asia.”

The R2E2 mangoes are supplied from Manbulloo’s four orchards in North Queensland and two local growers are supporting the export program, Tony and Naomi Holloway from Jade orchard at Giru and Dale and Cheryl Williams from Euri Gold orchard at Bowen.

Mariana Express Lines Line Manager Lilian Auvaa said it was an extremely proud moment for the company.

“Our first direct Townsville to Asia container service started back in 2009 carrying mainly dry cargo both import and export”, said Ms Auvaa.

“We recognise the significance of a reliable supply chain solution that will provide our valued partners with an opportunity to move their refrigerated products to Asia direct by sea”, she said.

Pacific Asia Express (PAE), the Australian agency for MELL, has been instrumental in bringing together the key stakeholders to develop an end-to-end transport solution that has led to this first ever direct sea shipment of mangos from Townsville.

PAE’s Senior Commercial Director Greg Mawer said this it was an exciting time for Townsville and the future potential for export of mangos in refrigerated containers.

“We ship export perishable goods from all over the country and to bring our expertise to the region to work with Manbulloo and key stakeholders is what we are about,” he said.

Port of Townsville Acting Chief Executive Officer Claudia Brumme-Smith congratulated the many stakeholders in the supply chain on their efforts to make the mango shipment a reality.

“Mariana Express Lines, NSS and North Queensland Customs have put a lot of effort into this shipment for Manbulloo to get the right refrigerated containers for their cargo, said Ms Brumme-Smith.

“I’m delighted to know that mangoes grown in our region will be ready for sale in Asia for the festive season.”

Manbulloo is Australia’s largest grower of Australia’s favourite mango variety Kensington Pride, also known as the “Bowen Mango” and the R2E2 variety which Asian consumers love for its large size and beautiful blush colour.

Manbulloo: Scott Ledger - 0419 725 181
Mariana Express Lines: Lilian Auvaa – 0434 514 188
Port of Townsville: Sharon Hoops – 07 4781 1551

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Figures released for the December quarter have confirmed that the gross value of horticultural production remains on track to pass $10billion dollars in 2018.

The Agricultural commodities report released by ABARES has estimated production across the major fruit and vegetable categories will continue its upward trend in terms of value increasing from $9.99billion to nearly $10.3billion in the 2017-18 financial year. Both vegetables and fruit and nuts are on track to be worth $4.1billion each, while table and dried grapes are set to increase from $364million to $374million.

This comes on the back of an increase in production which is forecast across the major categories. Potatoes are expected to rise from 1,295 kilotonnes (kt) to 1,385 kt, and onions are set to rise by 22 kt this financial year, and tomatoes 11 kt. In terms of fruit, bananas will rise by 28 kt according to the ABARES data, and oranges will be up from 395 to 418 kt. However, some produce lines are tipped to reduce slightly, including apples which will fall by just 2 kt, while carrot production will decrease by 4 kt.

Horticulture exports are tipped for another major rise in value, jumping from $2.5billion to $3.1billion. According to ABARES fruit exports should increase in value from $1billion in 2016-17 to more than $1.3billion in 2017-18, while tree nut exports look set for a rise of $310million. Vegetable exports will also rise, but by a much smaller margin of just $10million.

The increase in exports will continue to be led by the Chinese market, with the value continuing to increase from $260million to $341million in the next financial year. Fruit exports into the country are expected to again rise dramatically from $187million to $258million. Tree nuts and vegetables will also have slight increases in value.

The value of exports into Indonesia looks set to fall in this financial year by just over $13million. It is a similar story for the United States, with a significant drop in the value of tree nuts from $82.1million to $43.3million leading to an overall decrease of Australian horticultural produce into the country. However strong exports across all three categories (fruit, nuts and vegetables) means the value of exports to is Japan expected to rise from $178million $212million.

The full report can be viewed here

Publication date: 12/12/2017
Author: Matthew Russell

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There was excellent promotion of Australian apples and pears at the ‘Taste Australia’ stand at the Middle East’s leading fresh produce trade event – World of Perishables – held in Dubai, from 5 to 7 December.

Promoting Australian apples and pears: APAL’s Andrew Mandemaker at the ‘Taste Australia’ stand at World of Perishables, Dubai, UAE.

‘Taste Australia’ is an initiative of Hort Innovation, focused on in-market export activity to help promote premium Australian produce in current and future markets. It is part of a broader trade push by Hort Innovation to significantly grow Australian horticultural exports by 2025.

Attending the event was APAL’s Quality Project Manager Andrew Mandemaker who represented industry and helped promote Australian apples and pears at the event to importers, traders and supermarkets from the Middle East.

“Export opportunities exist in these new markets, especially for premium quality branded apples and pears,” said Mandemaker.

According to APAL, they are committed to promoting exports of apples and pears in new markets like the Middle East, a strategy in line with the Apple & Pear Industry Export Development Strategy released in August this year.

Publication date: 12/14/2017


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CONSIGNMENTS of apples and pears are among the cargo consignments held up at Webb Dock as a consequence of a picket.

The picket has been in place for two weeks and has forced a halt to operations at the nation’s newest and most modern box terminal.

Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association chief executive, Dominic Jenkin, said some members had containers of Indonesia-bound pears stuck at the docks with a value of about $45,000 per container.

Even though the containers are chilled preventing the fruit from deteriorating rapidly, Mr Jenkins said there still would be a price to pay.

“The reality is fruit destined for Indonesia had at least a week and a half on the water anyway.

“So, if they had been allowed to depart they probably would only be arriving in port about now,” he said. “I wouldn’t imagine they would have their quality downgraded as of now but what may have happened is the shelf life would have been reduced to the point where they cannot be exported.

“That would see their value downgraded if they were then released onto the domestic market.”

Mr Jenkin said releasing additional volumes onto the domestic market would suppress pricing across the board.

“The other (issue) is these items would have been purchased by an importer who will have had a structured supply program into retail over in these export markets.

“They see themselves being put in a situation where they can’t fulfil their commitments,” he said.

Indonesian importers would look to substitute product from other parts of the world, notably South Africa, a country with lower production costs.

“That offers a market opportunity for our global competitors to move in on our markets,” Mr Jenkins said.

A VICT spokesman told DCN the picket remained in place and the company was seeking further injunctions against picketers.

The Supreme Court hearing is to be held at 3pm Monday.

Source: - Daily Cargo News

Author: David Sexton 

Date: 11th Dec 2017


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New benchmark set in September, with three months of export figures still to be counted

Australian citrus suppliers don’t have to wait for the final figures to declare 2017 their best season on record.

More than 221,000 tonnes of fruit had been exported at the end of September, generating some A$377m in sales.

Given that citrus exports for the entire 2016 season were 220,000 tonnes at A$328.4m, it has already been another record breaking campaign in the export arena, and it’s not done yet.

“With three months still unaccounted for, and with predictions of substantial exports of Valencia oranges in the last quarter of the year, we expect to well and truly break the A$400m mark this season, edging us closer to our goal of half a billion dollars,” says Citrus Australia’s market access manager David Daniels.

Based on the September data, orange exports were up 12 per cent year-on-year at 152,153 tonnes, while mandarin exports were up 38 per cent to 64,755 tonnes.

Other citrus categories (grapefruit, lemons and limes) made up just under two per cent of total exports at 3,846 tonnes.

Source: Author: Matthew Jones

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Hundreds of containers have been stranded for more than a week at the Port of Melbourne, reports. Containers carrying fruit, frozen prawns, grain, milk products, toys, Christmas decorations and machine parts are going nowhere due to an industrial dispute at the nation's busiest port.

Joe Tullio, managing director of Australia Fruits fears his shipment of $45,000 in Victorian pears will see a total loss. He tells that the shipment has already been stranded at the port for over 10 days.

The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the Maritime Union of Australia to lift the picket but it has continued as a "community protest" with support from other unions.

Victoria International Container Terminal, which runs the first fully automated terminal in the country, has become the latest employer to face the trade unions. The issues are perceived substandard wage agreements and violations of workplace rights.

Mr Dominic Jenkin, chief executive officer of the Australian Horticultural Exporters' Association said he knew of several other containers of fresh produce being held up on the dock for more than 10 days.

Publication date: 12/8/2017


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Three peak industry bodies representing Australian berry producers are working together once again to roll out a highly anticipated conference of industry experts from across the country and abroad.

Strawberries Australia, Australian Blueberry Growers Association and Raspberries and Blackberries Australia will proudly host BerryQuest International 2018 at the Country Club Launceston from Feb. 12-15.

The event will bring together berry growers, industry related businesses and researchers from around Australia and the world for three days of conference activity.

Conference highlights will include:

A broad range of topics covered in plenary and breakout sessions which will provide growers with the latest information to help further develop both farming and business practices.
Many of the topics have been selected by a panel of growers who have focussed on the issues that will be pertinent to the berry industry as it expands over the next 5 to 10 years.
A number of conference speakers will be farmers, with berry growers from across the country willing to share their experience in a range of topics.
A large trade exhibition with 28+ booths will also be open for two and a half days of the conference.
BerryQuest International 2018 will expose delegates to the latest innovations across a wide range of areas including innovation in growing techniques, research, pest and disease management, breeding, export development, labour, marketing and retailer/consumer trends.

Simon Dornauf, conference committee chair for BerryQuest International 2018 says that the conference will also provide excellent business opportunities between growers, their allied trade and interested parties.

“The opportunities to share information and network presented by the Conference are extraordinary. Berry producers will be able to speak to and hear from suppliers about the latest innovations and technology at the dedicated Trade Exhibition, and the social events being held are where much of the ‘real business’ is done”.

Launceston has been selected as the host city due to its close proximity to berry growing areas where strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries will all be in season. Attendees will have the opportunity to see production first hand by participating in one of the organised farm tours on the final day of the conference.

With a combined value of around AUD$850 million dollars per annum, the Australia Berry Industry has now become one of the largest sectors within horticulture. It is estimated that more than 20,000 people are employed directly in the berry industry, with most of the industries expanding each year.

Registration to attend is now open and sponsorship/ exhibitor opportunities are still available. Visit for more information.

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Recent weather events in the major stone fruit growing regions, have not affected the optimism of the industry nationally, with volumes still on track to be higher than in the previous year.

Andrew Finlay is a grower at Pikes Creek Orchard near Stanthorpe in Queensland and also Chairman of Summerfruit Australia and he says the outlook for this year is looking really good, especially in his part of the country.

"Growing conditions have been good – significantly better than last year, it’s almost like a different country," he said. "There will be plenty of options and varieties for consumers to enjoy, with strong brix levels – in Queensland, we’re seeing 16.5 – 19.5 brix, so the sweetness should be up there. There are plenty of varieties still to come, so we’re looking forward to a strong season."

He says the major growing regions in southern Australia, have also experienced positive conditions throughout winter, leading into the season, despite some scattered hail and frost. While some parts of northern Victoria and southern New South Wales received more than 200 millimetres of rain last weekend, which is set to have a impact on yield for those growers.

Mr Finlay's orchard in South East Queensland grows early season fruit, harvesting from the middle of October, with a focus on nectarines and peaches. He has nectarine varieties such as Honey May and May Bright, and peach varieties such as Snow Angel and May Princess. That's in addition to plum varieties like Black Diamond, Black Ruby and Ebony Treat, which are harvested at the start of November, and are focused on the domestic market, with only a small amount of export plums.

"The varieties we choose work well for our region," Mr Finlay said. "Thanks to strong demand, our operations are expanding year on year. Asia as a region is an important focus for Australian Horticulture. There is significant opportunity to build markets given Australian products are known for being premium, high value and nutritious."

He says demand for Australian stone fruit is getting stronger, thanks to exciting new varieties that are coming into the market each season.

"As more varieties arrive, they’ll help to increase demand" Mr Finlay said. "We know we need to make sure the fruit we deliver to market is consistent, which is also a key driver for demand."

Mr Finlay believes this is a really exciting time for the industry, particularly with the opening of the market into China for plums, peaches and apricots, after nectarines gained access last season. He adds it will mean greater management of the supply and can better support the supply/demand balance here in Australia.

"For myself, I’ve got some varieties with high brix levels that I think will go very well in the Chinese market," he said. "They’re sweet and a good size which is a requirement in China, they are also perfect for snacking. Through the Hort Innovation Taste Australia initiative, we are working closely with export markets on consumer education to assist with their experience at a store level to help cement stone fruit as a great option for summer."

More than 100,000 tonnes of stone fruit is produced each year by more than 1,200 farmers Australia wide across the 26 growing regions. However, Mr Finlay says it is not just the quantity, but the improvement in quality this year that has made this year’s crop sweeter, which should improve even further as the season progresses.

“We know Aussies love stone fruit, it’s a nostalgic reminder of warm summer days with family and friends," he said. "Consumers can enjoy the fruit from now, through the festive season and well into the new year. I love nothing more than tucking into a peach or nectarine fresh off the tree as a snack, or slicing them and adding to a summer salad – it gives a lovely texture and tastes delicious. Make sure the fruit smells sweet, gives a little under pressure when squeezed, with no soft spots or blemishes. Once you get them home, if they’re not quite ripe, let them sit at room temperature. Only put them in the fridge once they’re ripe, as the cold stops the ripening process.”

For more information and serving ideas visit the Facebook Page:

Andrew Finlay
Pikes Creek Orchard
+61 7 4685 6171

Publication date: 12/8/2017
Author: Matthew Russell

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