Home' Cherry Magazine : Cherry spring 2018 Contents 3
DRIVING INDUSTRY INNOVATION
horticulture.com.au/grower-focus/cherry | Winter 2018
I trust this edition finds you progressing well towards harvest.
We have received reports from across Australia on the crop for the
forthcoming season and in all cases there is a sense of optimism
from growers. Crop load seems to be average to heavy in most
cases, which will see overall crop size build from the approximately
15,000 tonnes we saw last year. Dry conditions in some production
areas, including NSW, which remains drought-declared across cherry
areas, will provide a challenge.
This year has seen the largest number of export registrations in
the industry’s history. All production states have fielded registrations,
but the largest growth has been on the mainland in anticipation of
export opportunities to China. There is significant interest from China
in buying cherries, especially early season fruit, and hopefully good
volumes will be exported this season.
The fumigation pathway to China will no doubt provide some
lessons as many growers seek to implement the treatment for the
first time. There is significant experience with using fumigation
in Australia and hopefully this can be drawn upon to see exports
successfully completed this year.
Cherries SA carried out some cooling trials this year that
provided practical data on how best to manage fruit post-harvest
generally, as well as through the fumigation process. The fast-cooling
work in this trial especially is very compelling and shines specific
light on how fumigation could be managed with regard to quickly
heating fruit to 17°C and then fast cooling back down to 0°C. Looking
at how the rest of the world uses this technology and targeted
dispatch temperatures shows that we, as an industry, likely have a
bit to learn in this regard. The project was funded outside of levy
and we thank Cherries SA and the South Australian Government for
undertaking this important work.
Cherry Growers Australia (CGA) attended Asia Fruit Logistica
in Hong Kong in September and World of Perishables in Dubai in
October. It was great to see so many growers at Logistica, including
an increased presence from producers with their own independent
stands. The level of inquiry was good and I thank Charlotte Brunt
and Andrea Magiafoglou for travelling to Hong Kong to help on
the cherry stand. Interest from Asia remains strong and there has
been a lot of Chinese inquiry, with importers interested to see how
the fumigation pathway will work. Hopefully we can hit the ground
running this year with some good-quality cherries.
After Logistica, CGA joined the NSW Department of Primary
Industries (DPI) on a trade mission to Vietnam. This trip highlighted
the variable (but generally low) quality that was received by the
Vietnamese market in 2017-18. The events held in the market saw
very good attendance and Austrade and NSW DPI did a good job of
getting the right people in the room, although the feedback on last
year’s season was very poor. I have written and circulated a report
on this, but if you haven’t received it and are considering exporting
to Vietnam this season I would suggest reviewing it. Quality was an
issue last year and multiple importers suggested that unless a big
improvement can be achieved, there may be no home for Australian
cherries in Vietnam. It is not ‘panic stations’ yet, but it is a sobering
reminder of the standard we must maintain when competing against
countries such as Chile and New Zealand – and also that our fruit is
compared to North American product that was received earlier in the
year. There is still much interest in Australian cherries in Vietnam and
the opportunity is very large, but there must be a dramatic shift to
see us correct what occurred last season and give us a base to build
upon into the future.
The cherry industry has supported World of Perishables for three
years but this is the first year we had a representative at the event.
The UAE is a growing market, but interestingly it is generally referred
to as a low-volume, low-grade, seconds and small fruit market for
Australian cherries. This contrasts to the experience of Australian
table grapes, citrus and vegetables, where it is a high-value, high-
volume market. I wrote a report on the event upon my return and I
see great opportunities for Australian cherries in this market if we
seek to reposition ourselves. Investment in the market by European
cherry producing nations is significant and they are selling into the
market at prices we can compete with profitably.
CGA will be back in China in November for season launch events
in Shanghai and Guangzhou that will be run by NSW DPI. This is a
wonderful opportunity for Australian cherries and we are grateful
to the NSW government for developing this opportunity for us. The
2018-19 season will see the first full season of trade to China, so
the event will serve to announce the arrival of Australian mainland
cherries in China via air freight. CGA will also attend the Fruit and
Vegetable Fair (http://en.chinafvf.com) in Beijing in November.
Attendance at this event includes a one-day seminar meeting with
Chinese officials to discuss further opportunities for exports to China
from Australia and we thank Hort Innovation for arranging the event.
I look forward to speaking to many of you across harvest and
hope the season goes well. There are massive opportunities for
Australian cherries globally and these opportunities are growing,
both within existing markets and with new markets opening. I
encourage you to critique your cherries
thoroughly and speak to importers
openly to ensure all parties are aware
of what the fruit is like and to develop
relationships you can build upon in
years to come.
President of Cherry Growers Australia
horticulture.com.au/grower-focus/cherry | Spring 2018
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