Aussie stonefruit to expand Asian scope
Summerfruit Australia chair Ian McAllister says the industry is not just waiting for Chinese phytosanitary approval, but aims to expand its presence throughout Asia in the coming years.
"Asia’s obviously the big market for us and we need to gain access into Korea and Japan for stonefruit. If you’ve got Korea, Japan, China - we’re already in Taiwan - and Vietnam’s as a growing market, there’s a lot of scope for future development," McAllister told www.freshfruitportal.com.
"We regained Taiwan after a five year absence. Obviously we’ve got to compete with Chile in Taiwan but we’ve got an earlier timeframe and a lot less shipping time of course, so we’re rebuilding that market.
"If China opens there’ll be scope to grow a lot more fruit here, we think anyway. Only time will tell, you know. How big is your crystal ball?"
He says Australia's natural advantage will put it in a good position against its competitors, with the goal of replicating the recent success of Australian grapes in China.
"It’ll depend on what you get from South Africa, Chile and the rest of South America, but we have a closer geographical position. It's only 14 days to ship there so the fruit’s going to get there in better condition - that's what we already know from what we've shipped.
"Table grapes got officially in the door even though they’ve been going there (China) for ages, but they got the official approval and they were very well received. We tend to think that stonefruit will be the same."
"We had a bad season this year because we had a really wet summer and spring with around 10 or 11 times the normal rainfall for the whole year in six weeks, which was right in the middle of the stonefruit season which didn’t help at all," he says.
"Actually our white nectarines and peaches took a hammering so it cut exports right down this year, but the future is promising for exports out of here.
"About 30% of the national average this year was lost in the rain, and most of it went domestically. A lot of it didn’t go to export as it wasn’t good enough. Still a volume went but probably only half of what would go on a normal year."
Photos: Summerfruit Australia