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DRIVING INDUSTRY INNOVATION
horticulture.com.au/grower-focus/cherry | Summer 2016-17
The 2016-17 cherry harvest has finished for some, is part-way
through for others and for others still it is just beginning.
Wherever you fall in harvest timing and whatever perils this
season threw at you, I pray that the season has been or will be
successful for you.
By now it is no secret that production has fallen short of
projections by an unprecedented amount. Percentages of crop
compared to expectation vary regionally, but are consistently down
across all growing regions in Australia. This is due to a multitude
of reasons including poor chill, poor weather at pollination as well
as storms with flooding, rain and hail. Unfortunately, it appears that
no region has escaped calamity this season.
Prior to the season, Cherry Growers Australia (CGA) was
urgently seeking to have the federal Minister for Horticulture,
Senator Anne Ruston, assess and take action on the cherry levy
vote taken last year. Despite an overwhelming majority of growers
supporting a change, our request that the minister approve an
exemption from the collection of a mandatory levy by the Levies
Revenue Service (LRS) has been declined, due to procedural
requirements. Urgent discussions followed to seek an amendment
prior to the season. CGA exhausted every avenue, but it is likely
that a new levy vote will be required in the New Year.
attended in the past have seen the value these events provide,
and I would encourage anyone considering attendance to speak
to someone from CGA or your state association.
The principal focus of CGA remains market access and work
on our focus markets will continue in 2017. I look forward to the
first Cherry Export Working Group meeting this year to discuss
forthcoming strategies and actions. Much ground was covered
in 2016, especially in markets such as Vietnam and China, and
capitalising on these gains will be a clear focus for 2017.
Lastly, the backpacker tax issue has largely been put to bed.
Feedback I have received for this season is that 2016 backpacker
numbers were noticeably down, and some growers have reported
that if yields were not reduced there would have been significant
staff shortages in some areas. Indeed, the National Harvest Service
has been most concerned about 2016-17 harvests, with working
holiday visas down again. Many growers have welcomed the
conclusion of the issue and are content that a good outcome has
been achieved. Industrial relations will remain a key issue for the
cherry industry and if further advocacy work is needed on this issue,
please pass this along.
No matter what 2016 threw at you, I hope the cherry season
was successful for you and I pray everyone had a safe and blessed
Christmas and New Year. I look forward to catching up with
you somewhere soon.
President of the Cherry Growers
BY NOW IT IS NO SECRET THAT PRODUCTION
HAS FALLEN SHORT OF PROJECTIONS
BY AN UNPRECEDENTED AMOUNT. PERCENTAGES
OF CROP COMPARED TO EXPECTATION VARY
REGIONALLY, BUT ARE CONSISTENTLY DOWN
ACROSS ALL GROWING REGIONS IN AUSTRALIA.
In more positive news, CGA has continued to work as a
partner with Horticulture Innovation Australia and Coretext in the
new Cherry Industry Communications Program. CGA has also
won the revised export project that will continue support for
CGA’s export and market access development work. This work,
largely undertaken by Charlotte Brunt and Andrea Magiafoglou,
has yielded much valued research and an export framework that,
in the past, has included the Biosecurity Management Program
and systems approach. Over the next three years the export
program will support requests by bodies such as the Department
of Agriculture and Water Resources and Hort Innovation to be
included in future market access discussions.
As part of the Australia Fresh program, industry representatives
and Hort Innovation represented the Australian cherry industry
at Asia Fruit Logistica, World of Perishables and the Fruit and
Vegetable Fair in Beijing at the close of 2016. There will be an
expanded Australia Fresh program run in 2017 that includes these
and other international horticultural trade shows. Those who have
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