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Juicy outlook for Australian mango exports

Juicy outlook for Australian mango exports article image

Australia is aiming to double its mango exports under an ambitious new plan unveiled this month.

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce announced details of the three-year Strategic Export Plan for the Australian Mango Industry during a recent trip to Darwin.

Australia currently exports between 4000 and 5000 tonnes of mangoes annually worth about $20 million, and is aiming to lift that to between 8000 to 10,000 tonnes.

The plan will target affluent consumers in key markets such as China, Korea and the US.

In an interview with AAP, Australian Mango Industry Association CEO Robert Gray said: "We're a producer of very high quality high-flavour mangoes, with relatively expensive production costs compared to Mexico or The Philippines."

Australia’s Kensington Pride and Bowen varieties produce a flavour not available anywhere else in the world.

The government is negotiating a deal with the US that will hopefully result in the first load of Australian mangoes heading there by February, which should initially make up about 10 per cent of exports.

Australia hasn't been able to export to the US before because of fruit fly, which it does not have, or to Japan, Korea or China.

Sticking point

"Developing protocols that those countries accept to treat the fruit prior to shipment so they don't have fruit flies on arrival has been the sticking point," Mr Gray said.

Exports currently make up only a tiny proportion of the Australian mango market, with 92 per cent of the fruit kept for domestic consumption.

But AMIA wants the export market to rival the domestic market in coming years.

"We certainly have the skills, land and water to do that; it's really about building the markets," he said.

Earlier this month Mr Joyce and Northern Territory Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries, Willem Westra van Holthe, visited a mango farm near Katherine, Northern Territory, to speak to mango growers about new trade opportunities.

Always looking to expand

“The Australian mango industry is booming, Mr Joyce said. “In 2012-13, Australian mango growers produced fruit valued at more than $93 million.

“We’ve come a long way since the 1800s when the first mango plant found its way to Australia from its home country of India.

“But we’re always looking to expand and bring home better returns to the farm gate.”

Mr Joyce said the Strategic Export Plan for the Australian Mango Industry is aimed at expanding Australia’s trade to more international markets and to grow existing markets.

“Last financial year we exported 212 tonnes of mangoes to Korea, Japan and China, with tariff reductions taking effect under recently agreed trade deals, these important markets are more appealing.

“Australian mango growers produced more than 40,000 tonnes of fruit in 2012-13 and exported 4,842 tonnes of that to mango lovers all over the world.”

Mr Westra van Holthe said further developing the international mango trade was important for realising the industry’s potential.

“Developing foreign markets is a major focus for this Government and it is pleasing to see the industry has a target of doubling exports over the next three years. I applaud the industry for taking the lead and planning for their future,” Mr Westra van Holthe said.

Working closely with industry

“So far this season the Territory has produced an estimated at 2.82 million trays of mangoes which is about 19,700 tonnes. This includes two million trays from Darwin and 800,000 trays from the Katherine and Mataranka area. It is anticipated another 800,000 trays will be picked in the Territory this season, over the next three weeks.

“By opening up trade to new foreign markets the Territory hopes to increase these figures.”

The Department of Agriculture is working closely with the Australian Mango Industry Association (AMIA) to prepare growers and packers for registration to export to the US.

“I look forward to working closely with the mango industry to focus on their market access ambitions by incorporating a strong evidence-based approach to identify market access opportunities so we can direct our efforts to the most profitable markets,” Mr Joyce said.

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