Record year for Australian cherry exports

Record year for Australian cherry exports article image

Cherries are the leading fruit growth product of all major fresh fruit exported from Australia, according to latest industry data.

The Fresh Intelligence Index, which measures fruit exports, shows the Cherry Index is currently at 297pts followed by mangoes (211) and grapes (175).

This is a 37% increase over the previous year.

With the release of the January trade figures, which normally covers 95% of the export season, the Australian cherry industry looks set to achieve above 40% growth in 2014-15.

By the end of January, 3,410 tonnes had been exported already smashing the previous record of 2890 tonnes in 2012-13. The cherry exports were valued at $44.93 million – 30% higher than last year for the same period.

According to industry sources, at least a further 300 tonnes are expected to be recorded by the end of February which could see the final result come in at 3700 tonnes.

Hong Kong and Singapore were the leading export markets – taking nearly 55% of the value.

South Korea increased from 5 to 243 tonnes worth $A3.4million in the wake of the FTA and immediate elimination of the 24% tariff.

New market opportunities

China is expected to reach 400 tonnes with further shipments yet to be recorded for February.

This represents growth of more than 150% as the industry develops new market opportunities.

Trade to Vietnam lifted 144% ahead of the suspension of trade taking effect from January 1.

And cherry growers are the big winners in the recently implemented FTA’s with Japan and South Korea.

The 24% tariff for cherries to South Korea was abolished on implementation in December resulting in an immediate trade increase.

No other fruit industry gained immediate tariff elimination.

Others have staging reductions over 5-15 years from the implementation date.

The 8.5% tariff for cherries into Japan was eliminated on January 15 when the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) came into force.

The Japan agreement now brings us into line with Chile which has had its tariff reduction staged over 8 years since 2007.

Further export growth

Mr Simon Boughey, CEO of Cherry Growers Australia Inc, says further export growth is expected in the UAE, Kuwait and Europe.

“We are getting new markets all the time, Mr Boughey says. “America is another market we are now trying to get back into.”

This follows the recent lifting of restrictions for Australian mangoes and lychees into the US.

According to Mr Boughey Australia ranks about 20th on the world ladder of cherry production – producing about 1.5% of the world’s cherries.

He expects production to double to about 3% in the next decade, subject to favourable climatic conditions. 

“Australian cherries are renowned for their quality and flavour,” he says proudly. “We grow some of the best varieties in the world.”

New plantings

Australian Cherries are produced in six states, with NSW, Victoria and Tasmania being the three largest producers followed by South Australia, Western Australia and parts of Queensland.

Mr Boughey says there has been a rapid expansion in plantings in Tasmania, Victoria and NSW, with 4-5 different varieties now available. 

Australian Cherries are picked from mid/late October to late February, depending on the state and seasonal calendar due to climatic variation, varieties and growing season.

Currently up to 15,000 tonnes of Australian Cherries are produced every year with 30 percent exported.

This is expected to rise to 20,000 tonnes and 50 percent exported by 2020.


Leave A Comment

Spinning icon Saving your comment, please wait...
Spinning icon Saving your comment, please wait...