First Aussie apples arrive in China

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First Aussie apples arrive in China

Tasmanian apple growers have finally capitalized on a Chinese market access agreement reached back in 2010, with the inaugural shipment arriving in time for China-Australia Business Week.

Photo: Hansen Orchards

Photo: Hansen Orchards

Huon Valley-based Hansen Orchards sent 210 18kg (40lbs) boxes of the fruit to online retailer Fruit Day, whose co-founder Loren Zhao visited Tasmanian farms in February in search of product.

In a release, Hansen Orchards marketing manager Baden Ribbon said the shipment represented an investment in the China trade, with the industry getting its "foot in the door of this important market".

"This also potentially opens the door for the broader Australian apple industry with future access for mainland growers hopefully not too far away," Ribbon said.

The news comes after the ABC reported last month that Australia's Apal and Pear Limited (APAL) chairman John Lawrenson made a call to growers to act on the deal, in a bid to avoid jeopardizing access negotiations for mainland Australian apple orchardists in China.

Market access arrangements have been easier for Tasmania due to its fruit fly-free status. Nonetheless, a high Australian dollar has been an impediment to Tasmanian exports in recent years; a situation that has improved due to depreciation over the past year.

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APAL CEO Dollisson said the association was "delighted" that the shipment had taken place.

"China is a huge potential market for Australian apples and pears because our fruit has a unique clean, green and safe image that is becoming increasingly popular among high-end consumers in the country," Dollisson said in the release.

"Thanks to Hansen Orchards we have a unique opportunity to showcase Australian apples in China. And what a great time to do it during China-Australia Business Week – when the spotlight is on Australia and when many government delegations are meeting that could see trade opportunities open."

Fruit Growers Tasmania business development manager Phil Pyke said while the falling Australia dollar supported export opportunities, cost challenges remained.

"While the fall in the Australian dollar has assisted in making access to China commercially viable, the biggest challenge for Tasmania’s fruit growers remains the very high cost of freight," he said.

"The recent shipping of Hansen Orchards’ Royal Gala apples to China represents a growing Asian focus on Tasmania’s fruit industry, particularly in cherries and increasingly in apples and berries."




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