Major Australian supermarket chain Coles announced on Monday it would cease importing lemons and instead stock Australian-grown fruit year-round, Weekly Times Now reported.
It said this would include the window between December and January when most Australian growers struggled to produce a commercial crop and retailers were left to rely on imports to fill the void.
Coles general manager Brad Gorman said the move to close the summer supply gap was part of the retail chain’s “Australian-first” sourcing policy.
Citrus Australia chairman Ben Cant said it was good news for growers.
“Otherwise those lemons would need to be sold in a peak production period, which would push prices down,” Cant was quoted as saying.
“So anything we can do to ease the bubbles of supply, the better the returns are on average for growers.”
Queensland lemon growers Kathleen and Stephen Stenhouse, from Bundaberg, said many citrus suppliers talked about bridging the import gap.
Australia is a net lemon importer, with most coming from the US.