Chinese importer upbeat for Australian nectarine deal -

Chinese importer upbeat for Australian nectarine deal

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Chinese importer upbeat for Australian nectarine deal

After a season of record pricing for Australian mandarins, Guangzhou-based Altai Fresh is excited about the country's upcoming nectarine campaign. 

Australian stonefruit growers have not been short on offers from China after access was granted for their nectarines in May, and discussions continue between industry players to work out where the best opportunities will lie.

Altai Fresh international trade specialist Nicole Ho

Altai Fresh international trade specialist Nicole Ho

One importer who is especially enthusiastic about the new access arrangements is Nicole He, international trade specialist at Altai Fresh.

"It's the first year we’ll be able to import to China. We are very excited about it," she told during Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong last week.

"Our company is working with a lot of different items in Australia so we know some suppliers there already and we are going to import this year in big volumes through programs.

"We will start very soon once the fruit is ready," she said, clarifying timing was a bit different every year but supply would most likely be available in October.

Like peaches, nectarines originate in China so consumers are no strangers to local supply, but the Australian product offers something a bit different.

"We have the opposite season so when it is ready we don’t have any stonefruit in China, so I think it’ll be good," He said.

"People will be okay with the product but it will need time to warm up the market and have people accept it and know more about it."

When asked how Altai Fresh will help move the product, Ho said the group had several stable clients from different parts of the country where the fruit would likely be in demand.

"For the second tier market, a lot of different markets from Chongqing and Xi’an always get the fruit from the Guangzhou market – we have a bunch of stable clients from different areas of China," she said.

"They will start to get better volume in the future step by step, and also a lot of supermarket people are buying fruit from the Guangzhou market too, even from in Shanghai or Beijing."

The season is coming off the back of a very good year in another Australian crop - citrus.

"The price is very stable, the mandarins were crazy, selling around CNY450 (US$67) per (18kg) carton. It’s a really good price and it’s never happened before.

"Maybe nectarines will get new records too."

She said another country with its eye on the Chinese market was Spain, which has also recently gained access for its stonefruit but runs counterseasonally to the Australian supply.

The key Spanish product for Altai is citrus, with supplies also coming from South Africa, the United States and Egypt.

"We have worked with a few companies from Spain to import their mandarins and oranges - they catch the season after the USA citrus."

In more general terms, He believed cherries and blueberries were perhaps the most popular and interesting fruits for the Chinese market.

"People love the sweetness of the cherry - I think these two items have a lot of potential. It’s already going well, but I think for the future it’ll grow for a while.

"Of course everyone likes new products so we are searching for new fruits from different countries."

The company also has a "very mature" supply base in Chile for a wide range of fruits, while it also imports from Peru, Mexico, New Zealand, Canada, France, Italy, Thailand, Vietnam and Taiwan.





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