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China drives boom in Australian cherry exports

China drives boom in Australian cherry exports  article image

An excellent growing season combined with strong demand from China is driving Australian cherry exports to new highs. 

Export volumes were up about 1000 tonnes on last year, according to Rabobank horticulture analyst Hayden Higgins.

“From the year ending in June, export volumes to mainly China were about 5500 tonnes — up from about 4500 tonnes the previous year,” Mr Higgins said.

He attributed the increase to better growing conditions and larger crop volumes.

“There has been an increase in plantings – in Tasmania in particular – because of their fruit-fly-free status.”

Mr Higgins said cherry prices had been consistent, averaging about $16 a kilogram over the last seven years.

Victorian Cherry Association president Alison Jones said the state’s three main export growers were expanding production.

Regarded highly internationally

“Exporting creates a better situation in the local market – as not every grower exports,” Ms Jones said.

“It means growers are not all in the same field, which can lead to gluts in supply.”

Ms Jones said Australian produce was regarded highly internationally and fruit was often used as a gift in China.

“Chinese New Year is a popular time in their market for the fruit and it is usually when mainland growers have finished their supply,” she said.

Ms Jones said Victorian growers had a favourable season last year, with yield in from the previous season.

“We are expecting to see numbers increasing again this coming season, but we won’t get a forecast until post blossom.”

Ms Jones said the industry was looking at various new markets in addition to China.

“The cherry industry is proactive at achieving market access and Victorian producers are definitely a proud bunch,” she said.

“There is a great focus from growers on export opportunities, and they are driven to work as a team.”

Source: Weekly Times

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