Vietnam: Dragon fruit to be exported to Australia, Japan

In the near future Vietnam expects to export dragon fruit to both Australia and Japan. Recently, experts from Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources have been on fact-finding tours of Vietnamese provinces to evaluate their dragon fruit production, packaging and exports. According to experts, once a product is allowed to enter the Australian market, doors would open for it in other markets too.

The visit was one of the final steps before Australia opened its market to fresh dragon fruit from Vietnam, according to the Plant Protection Department.
 
The Australian Government would release a draft report on the evaluation outcomes at the end of this year for stakeholders’ benefit, and possibly allow the import of Vietnamese white and red dragon fruits by the end of this year or early next year, it said.
 
It has also worked with Japanese authorities and Vietnamese fresh dragon fruits could be exported to that country in the near future, it said.
 
Fruit exports to several demanding markets had increases in 2016, it said, with exporters shipping more than 4,608 tonnes to the US, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand in the first half of the year, a year-on-year increase of 81 per cent.
 
Australia market
 
According to the Vietnam Trade Office in Australia, Australia imports fruits and vegetables worth US$1.7-2 billion from other countries.
 
According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, total exports to Australia were worth over $1.3 billion this year, with fruits and vegetables accounting for a mere $10.3 million.
 
Explaining why the exports of Vietnamese fruits and vegetables to Australia remain modest, experts pointed to the stringent quarantine system there.
 
Read more at vietnamnews.vn.

Publication date: 7/22/2016

 

Australian cherry crop sizes up well

Early forecasts point to solid national crop, with mainland growers sending directly to China via airfreight
As Australia’s early-season cherry harvest gets underway, hopes are high for a record crop.

Cherry Growers Australia president Tom Eastlake said all major production regions were cropping well, with growers on track to surpass the 16,000 tonne mark for the first time.

“The forecast at the moment depends on how bullish you want to be … we would have to be starting this year at a baseline of 20 per cent higher than 15,000 tonnes, so it will be about 18,000 tonnes," Eastlake told ABC News.

“Assuming we don't have any adverse weather events come through, I would be reasonably confident we hit that mark."

Cherry growers in New South Wales are optimistic about crop forecasts, despite the state being in the grips of drought.

Water storage in the key production hub surrounding the township of Young is down, but many don’t foresee this as a wholesale problem.

“It means we just have to manage our water supply well,” Fiona Hall, managing director of Caernarvon Cherry Co, told Asiafruit. “Good management will mean there will be no impact on the crop as we hope for more rain through early summer.”

The dry spell, coupled with a warm winter, resulted in a later blossom in New South Wales, which has seen a later start to harvest for some growers.

Further south in Victoria, growers are reporting an above average fruit set, although some areas were affected by an early frost at budbreak. This has been compensated by a better than average fruit set on other varieties.

Michael Rouget, managing director of Victorian-based grower-packer-exporter Koala Cherries, said he was expecting a “normal crop to slightly above average" on his orchards.

Cautious optimism for China

Having secured significant market access improvements in January this year, the upcoming 2018/19 campaign will see mainland cherry growers send fruit directly to China via airfreight for the first time. However, it will be with an eye on laying the foundations for what the industry hopes will develop into a lucrative market.

“It is a positive step forward. People are optimistic but cautious given this is new territory for mainland cherry producers in Australia,” Rouget said. “I think this season most growers will trial shipments through this pathway but do it cautiously.”

The new protocol with China requires all mainland cherries grown outside recognised pest free areas to undergo methyl bromide treatment prior to export.

Hugh Molloy of Antico International says an adherence to high-quality will be crucial when it comes to developing market share in China.

“There is specific and unique demand for Australian supply if we can deliver consistent high quality, firm, sweet fruit,” Molloy told Asiafruit. “If this is established over November and December, the sales draw should then flow on into the Tasmanian supply window, which this year is perfectly suited to and timed for the Chinese New Year gifting period.”

 

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

Author : Matthew Jones

Early Murcott Mandarin Variety Key to BGP’s Good Start in China

From September 5 to 8, the booth of BGP International, a Melbourne-based produce company, caught the eye of many attendees at Asia Fruit Logistica 2018 Hong Kong. Since its founding in 1992, BGP has strived to provide customers with high-quality fresh produce year-round through extensive cooperation with partners in Australia, the United States, Pakistan, India, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa, and New Zealand. Now, the company has also expanded operations to California, the Philippines, India, and Egypt. Produce Report interviewed Neil Barker, CEO of BGP, to explore how his company has done in China.

Citrus has been a key category for BGP, with the company’s annual citrus volume exceeding 40,000 metric tons. Relying on oranges, mandarins, and grapefruit from the world's leading production regions to develop the Chinese market has proven a sound strategy which pairs well with BGP's own strengths. The company’s strategy for China focuses on a special Murcott mandarin, the very early Murcott variety Royal Honey Murcott, which was discovered and patented by Ironbark Citrus, a producer of premium Australian mandarins in Queensland. This variety matures one month earlier than other Murcott mandarins and possesses a skin texture and taste profile which appeals to Chinese consumers.

As an appointed partner of Ironbark Citrus, BGP enjoys the privilege of being able to promote the variety in China before fierce market competition kicks in. "Until now, every year when the sales season kicks off for Royal Honey Murcott, demand is always two to three times greater than the volume available, so we have to restrict access to only a small number of specially-selected importers to better serve the market.” Neil continued however, noting that, "because we started with these early varieties, we are in a good position to go on with our later Murcott varieties."

For a first-hand account of this highly sought-after variety, Produce Report also spoke with Jing Huang, Assistant to CEO for Fruitday, a major Chinese fresh produce e-retailer, who confirmed the popularity of the Royal Honey Murcott in China. “This will be our fifth year marketing this variety on our platform. In addition to maturing early, Royal Honey Murcotts also boast a good appearance, excellent taste, high brix, and low acid content. As a result, it has been received well on Fruitday and is a perfect fit for the Chinese market.”

According to Neil, production of Royal Honey Murcotts is expected to double over the next 3 years and BGP will be working to continually increase market penetration for the variety in China.

Besides sourcing from Australia, BGP were also among the first companies to bring Chinese consumers mandarins, grapefruit, and lemons from Egypt. "We also expect some increases in these volumes in the years ahead. To achieve this goal, our grower partners in Egypt and South Africa are planting new farms with varieties specifically developed for the Chinese and Asian markets," Neil remarked. In addition to expanding the existing supply chain volumes, BGP is actively exploring new fruit varieties as well, such as avocadoes, nectarines, plums, and peaches, to further add value to its business in China.

BGP has been exporting premium Australian fruit to China since the early 2000s. Over the years, the company has developed into a crucial supplier to many upscale supermarkets, online retailers, and wholesalers in China. As one of the forerunners in marketing China-grown produce around the world, BGP has operated an office in China for a number of years to facilitate its exports of apples, citrus, garlic, and ginger to India, the EU, and other Asian markets. BGP was also involved in the early shipments of Ya pears (a famous type of pear native to northern China) to Australia.

Source: https://www.producereport.com 

 

 

Analysis of sudden price increase for Chinese fruit

As the seasonal market is changing, fresh fruit enters the market in large volumes. A quick look at this year's prices in comparison with last year shows that fruit prices greatly increased this year. One of the reasons for this development is quite obvious, the overall production volume decreased because of extreme weather conditions this year. However, looking at broader price developments shows that this price increase started much earlier than this year. The price of domestic fruit has been on the rise for several years now, and this is likely to be the prevailing trend in the future as well.

Well then, what are the reasons for this development?

Shrinking gap in product quality and product variety between domestic fruit and imported fruit
Imported fruit is not nearly as rare as it was on the market 10 years ago. As China opened the doors wide, more and more fruit importers have entered the Chinese market. The annual import volume of fruit continues to increase. In some situations the market even turned upside down, and imported fruit became a common sight. Under these circumstances, some consumers, suppliers, and plantation owners began to change their perception of domestic fruit:

First, various production areas in China have been importing fruit varieties from abroad for many years now, and this is particularly true for south China. Plantation owners experimented and adjusted until these fruit varieties performed well in Chinese production areas, and the fruit now produced in these areas is virtually indistinguishable from imported fruit, whether it is in terms of flavor or other characteristics.

Second, China continues to upgrade and innovate plantation technology and equipment in the agricultural industry. Plantation owners often apply glasshouse and greenhouse technology, and experiment with growing environments developed in agricultural production areas abroad. This also guarantees increased product quality for fruit produced in China.

Third, steady economic growth in China means that overall living standards have increased in recent years. Consumers enjoy higher average incomes and are able to spend more on food products. Consumers in China have begun to change their consumption pattern from quantity to quality. Farmers and fruit traders only have to improve the product quality of their fruit, and consumers are eager to pay extra. The proportion of top-quality fruit is still relatively small in the current fruit market. Increased consumer demand for top-quality fruit will eventually increase market prices.


Publication date : 11/2/2018

Source: www.freshplaza.com 

New Zealand is beating Australia regarding Pacific work force

Both New Zealand and Australia want to attract tourist fruit pickers [‘backpackers’] and seasonal workers from around the Pacific. However, latterly the numbers are becoming somewhat skewered. For every 1,000 backpackers picking fruit and vegetables in New Zealand, there are about 3,000 seasonal workers from the Pacific. In Australia, the mix is different: for every 1,000 backpackers there are only about 250 Pacific seasonal workers.

The Australian outcome is what the research literature predicts: employers preferring the more flexible, much less regulated backpacker. It’s less hassle, and as recent media and academic research has shown, easier to get away with underpaying backpackers, where no government approval or reporting is required, than with seasonal workers, where stringent approval and reporting requirements are imposed.

How then to explain New Zealand’s contrary performance? There seem to be five factors which explain why New Zealand’s 2007 seasonal worker scheme (called the RSE or Recognised Seasonal Employer) has been much more popular than Australia’s 2009 Seasonal Worker Program (SWP).

First, New Zealand’s horticultural sector has a much stronger export orientation. As a result, the sector is more focused on quality and compliance, as stories of worker exploitation risk the loss of export markets. In contrast, Australian farmers are producing mainly for the domestic market, with little external scrutiny of workplace conditions and employee rights. They are focused primarily on costs rather than reputation.

Second, collective action is easier in New Zealand. New Zealand’s horticultural sector is much better organised than in Australia, and has a single peak body. It played a leading role in developing the RSE, and employs someone to promote it.

Third, the costs of regulatory compliance are also lower in New Zealand. Australia’s minimum wage is significantly higher than New Zealand’s, which creates a stronger incentive to avoid it.

Australia also has a weaker enforcement regime, making it less likely that you’ll be caught if you cheat. This is again due to the tyranny of size, but also because Australia has put less effort into developing a licensing regime for labour hire companies. This situation is now changing, which explains the growth of the SWP in recent years (as noted below).

Fourth, while Australia’s and New Zealand’s backpacker and seasonal worker schemes are very similar, there are subtle differences in their design, history and implementation, which have made a difference.

New Zealand introduced the RSE in 2007. At the time, Australia wasn’t prepared to follow suit. Instead, in response to farmers’ complaints about labour shortages, it introduced the second-year backpacker visa to funnel backpackers into agriculture in their first year with the offer of a second-year visa.

Finally, there is the simple fact that Australia simply attracts far more backpackers than New Zealand, making the potential pool of backpacker farm labour that much larger. In the 2017-18 financial year, Australia had 210,000 backpackers while New Zealand had only 70,000.

Source: asiancorrespondent.com via http://www.freshplaza.com


Publication date : 11/2/2018

Australia ratifies CPTPP

Joining five other nations, Australia’s commitment has triggered a 60-day countdown to tariff reductions
On 31 October, Australia became the sixth country to ratify its position in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11, and also known as the CPTPP).

Joining Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and Singapore in the first group to ratify the agreement means a majority sign-on triggers a 60-day countdown to the first round of tariff cuts.

The first tariff cuts under the agreement will enter into force on 30 December 2018. A second reduction will occur three days later on 1 January 2019.

For Australia, tariff reductions to Mexico are expected to benefit the horticulture sector, and the broader agriculture industry will see improved access.

Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, and Vietnam are also part of the agreement, but are yet to ratify their positions.

ExportNZ executive director Catherine Beard is pleased by the ratification and looming tariff reductions.

"CPTPP brings Japan, Canada and Mexico into a trade deal with New Zealand for the first time. These countries have large markets that will now become progressively open to New Zealand goods and services, improving New Zealand’s trade earnings,” she said.

"Other country members of CPTPP will now also offer terms of trade more favourable to New Zealand exports.”

The New Zealand government expects items like buttercup squash into Japan to become tariff-free; onions to Japan to have tariffs removed within the next six years; and tariffs in other countries to be eliminated on a number of items like cherries, radish, carrot seed, kiwifruit, and avocado.

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit Author: Camellia Aebischer 

PMA Research: Impact of Chinese Tariffs applied to US Fresh Fruit Exports

Overview of Chinese Tariffs


The People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) on March 23, 2018 announced a proposal to levy retaliatory tariffs impacting approximately $2.0 billion in U.S. food and agricultural exports to China in response to the recent U.S. 232 Trade Action on steel and aluminum.

Additional tariffs of 15 percent would be applied to exports of fruits, dried fruits and nuts (among other products) from the U.S. in retaliation for tariffs introduced by the United States. Chinese customs began levying these additional tariffs April 2, 2018.

 

Read the rest of the article here

China's currency value has dropped dramatically

China’s currency has been losing points, hitting its lowest level against the US dollar in a decade. The reason behind this slide isn’t because of manipulation by the People’s Bank of China. The reason the yuan is being dumped now is that investors are concerned about a trade war between America and China.

The trade war will probably ensure, as all trade wars do, that both sides will lose. Alas, the wider global economy will too, as orders are lost and consumers and businesses globally pay higher prices for goods and raw materials, or suffer from “dumping” of exports previously destined for America and which now need to be sold off in a hurry.

If president Trump’s response is to intensify his trade war with the China, he will set up a vicious downward cycle, and where that will end should worry people. And China has quite some weaponry in this scrap: it holds some $1.2 trillion worth of US government bonds. This is where they have stashed all those trade surpluses with the Americans built up over a quarter of a century, according to an article on independent.co.uk.

Imagine if China decided to dispose of them on the bond market. Huge disruption – and a worldwide economic shock. Or even to run them down in an orderly fashion. The result would be higher interest rates hitting the American economy, whether Trump likes it or not. It would choke off US growth, and maybe even push it into recession. The dollar would be devalued as never before – which would help the US trade position and exports, but would also prompt a surge in American inflation and a squeeze on living standards.


Publication date : 10/31/2018

NZ - Country of Origin labelling a step closer to law

Horticulture New Zealand is thrilled that mandatory Country of Origin labelling for fruit and vegetables got a step closer today, with the second reading of the Consumers’ Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Bill passing in Parliament.

"Our research showed that more than 70 percent of New Zealanders want mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) for fruit and vegetables, so it is great to see the Government continuing to listen to consumers by progressing this Bill," Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman says.

"This Bill has been a long time in the making and it underwent significant changes by the Primary Production Select Committee between its first reading and now. Ultimately, the outcome is what our growers want. That is, consumers can choose what to buy with full knowledge of where their fresh fruit and vegetables come from," Chapman says.

"Consumers want to be able to make choices based on their own beliefs and values. They may want to support local businesses, buy what is in season and grown locally, help keep and create jobs in their own area, or for that matter, buy products from other countries known for being the best at growing particular produce.

"We look forward to this passing into law, hopefully this year."

You can read the bill here.

For more information;
Josie Vidal
Horticulture New Zealand
Tel: +64 4470 5665
Mobile: +64 27 542 7475
www.hortnz.co.nz


Publication date : 10/18/2018

Source: www.freshplaza.com

Australia's citrus industry set for another record year but nurseries run short of tree stock

Citrus growers across Australia have good reason to celebrate, with prices and global demand predicted to hit new records.

Chairman for Citrus Australia Ben Cant said the industry was booming, with growers getting twice or three times as much for their fruit than they were five years ago, and exports were steadily increasing.

"We've seen returns in the vicinity of $700–900 a tonne on navel oranges this season," Mr Cant said.

"In 2012/2013 we were looking at $200–300 a tonne, which is about our cost of production … so now we see fantastic returns for growers."

Sunlands citrus grower Mark Doecke said it had been an exceptional season for growers as weather conditions, fruit quality, and crop quantity had been great.

"Citrus has to be picked when it is dry and above 12 to 13 degrees, so this year with harvest we had no drizzle and no rain," he said.

"I feel for my brothers in the dryland farming but, as far as citrus picking goes, it's been excellent for us."

Sunlands citrus grower Mark Doecke says they've had great season with good fruit quality, weather conditions, and fruit quantity. 

And as demand is outstripping supply, Australian exports are predicted to have increased by 10 per cent this year.

Mr Cant said last year's official figures for citrus exports were around $480 million and they were confident to be a bit over $500 million in exports this year.

"And we could see $550–600 million in export next year," Mr Cant said.

"We've seen positive improvements in all markets, Japan has been about the same but China and the USA are up and pretty much everything across the board.

"Certainly, the demand for navel oranges continues to rise across key export markets like China and Japan."

Chairman for Citrus Australia Ben Cant says citrus exports are predicted to have increased by 10 per cent this season. 


Growers benefit with first harvest under new import rules to China. After years of negotiations the Chinese Government recognised the Riverland region as a pest-free area for all horticulture commodities late last year, and the benefits were being felt by citrus growers this harvest.

The fruit-fly free recognition for exports to China means growers do not have to cold-treat their produce, which results in faster and direct shipment and cost savings for growers.

The Riverland's fruit-fly-free recognition for exports to China gives growers a competitive advantage. 

Chair of Citrus Australia SA Region Steve Burdette said it was their biggest competitive advantage where additional cost for cold treatment would not have to be paid anymore.

"The fruit is a lot fresher when you ship it and eating quality is a lot more superior," Mr Burdette said.

"It created a lot more demand for our fruit into China."

Mr Cant said reasons for the high demand from China was their rising middle class prepared to pay for quality and the recognition of Australia's citrus as a premium product.

Citrus Australia market access manager David Daniels said there was a 50–60 per cent increase of exports to China from South Australia compared to last season, but this number was based on a low tonnage figure.

"China is the number-one market across the country, but that trade is primarily captured by the Victorian exporters. For South Australia, Japan is still a very strong market," Mr Daniels said.

"Returns to growers are better than ever."

Ben Cant says demand for navel oranges is certainly increasing. (ABC Rural: Jessica Schremmer)
"I would have to say everywhere we go, growers are very happy, with some saying prices are better than they have ever experienced in their lifetime."

Mr Daniels said the global demand for citrus was high due to an undersupply from competitor nations, where growers struggled with pest and disease hitting their produce.

Citrus plantings boom but many nurseries are sold out of trees. As global demand for citrus is expected to be strong, thousands of new citrus tree plantings are going into the ground across the country. But many nurseries are sold out of stock and do not have trees available until early 2020.

Mr Cant said there was a two to three-year wait for nursery stocks.

"We are on a massive growth trajectory, people are putting in trees of the preferred varieties as fast as they can right now," he said.

Chislett Farms nursery manager Jonathan Chislett from the Mallee region in Victoria said demand for trees was very high.

"We're sold out for this year and next but have capacity for 2020," Mr Chislett said.

"I don't have the exact numbers but it might be a couple of hundred thousand trees."

Mr Chislett said it was the highest demand he had ever seen and, as demand increased, nurseries were increasing their capacity to accommodate for it.

Engelhardt Citrus nursery owner John Engelhardt, located in the Orara Valley in New South Wales said he sold out of stock in July this year and would not be able to supply growers until January 2020.

"There is a lot of demand for citrus trees as the growers are getting reasonable prices for the fruit and also the export markets seem to be lucrative," Mr Engelhardt said.

"We are increasing production but at a reasonable pace."

Mr Cant said they were concerned about the volumes of trees coming on board but would work hard on opening more export markets.


ABC Rural
By Jessica Schremmer and Nadia Isa

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2018-10-19/another-record-year-for-citrus-industry/10388240