Home' Cherry Magazine : Cherry summer 2019 Contents 3
horticulture.com.au/grower-focus/cherry | Summer 2019
Happy New Year to you all! For some of us, this will see our seasons
completed, while some will still be going and some will only just be
beginning. It’s always difficult to write a president’s report during or
just after the season, especially as in most seasons there are some
producers who have had a tough year. This season is no different
but is, perhaps, differentiated by the polar extremes in weather
conditions we have seen across production areas.
We have had terrible drought, extreme heat, torrential rain and
catastrophic hail across Australia’s growing areas, making growing
conditions very difficult this year. There have been numerous reports
of large-scale crop losses – as well as complete crop losses – so
our prayers go out to all those who have experienced hardship
this season. It has been a tough year. It has been positive to see
governments declare some regions natural disaster areas, which
add to the production areas that are already drought-declared. While
not necessarily unlocking financial assistance, it is good to see some
recognition of the impact of the spring and summer weather many
areas have experienced this year.
The lack of any recognition of weather impact is often – and
rightfully so – a distinct source of frustration for producers, even in the
face of complete crop loss. Cherry Growers Australia (CGA)continues
to seek to provide advice to governments on crop conditions,
including adverse weather conditions and their effects on crops.
Reports of crop yields have varied again, depending on region
but – as mentioned – there have been myriad climatic issues
complicating the season for growers.
The shining light through all of this has been exports –
specifically, China exports. This season is the first full season in which
mainland cherry producers have had access to China and, while
the industry has seen the largest number of export registrations in
history, it was unclear how much volume would be shipped via the
new fumigation protocol. We contacted growers who had registered
and many were unsure whether they would ship this season, while
some were planning to trial the pathway for the first time and others
were committed to shipping.
It has been overwhelmingly pleasing to see the number of
growers participating and the volumes that have been shipped so
far. Reports of fruit quality in China have been very good and this
feedback has been consistent since the first shipments this season.
To all those who have participated this season, I pray you will accept
my sincere and humble thanks for being involved and I hope it has
been an overwhelming success.
The cold chain/post-fumigation trials undertaken by CherriesSA
this season provided some extremely valuable data and important
information to anyone who was seeking to export for the first time
using fumigation. Many growers had experience in exporting using
fumigation and this shows in the reports we have been receiving.
The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is to be sincerely
thanked for its efforts in arranging and holding the 2018-19 Australian
Cherry Season Launch in Shanghai and Guangzhou, China. After the
NSW DPI had already supported the cherry industry’s attendance at
Asia Fruit Logistica this year and run a trade mission into Vietnam,
it was very generous of it to arrange these events in China. They
were very well run and extraordinarily well attended. The events,
and resulting media coverage, sparked a flurry of inquiry across
Australia for cherries. I thank NSW Agriculture Minister Niall Blair for
attending and hosting the events and Fay Haynes and the NSW DPI
International Engagement Team for all the events.
Export prices have been good and everyone I have spoken
to has been pleased with the season’s progress and how robust
prices have been. CGA has been obtaining shipment data from
Chile during the season and this has been made available to export
registered growers, which has been well-received. Chile’s exports
have ramped up now but were behind their 2017-18 numbers for
some time early in the season, especially on airfreight volume. We
hope to continue obtaining and circulating this weekly data in future
seasons as well as seeking to launch a domestic program where we
obtain the same data from growers to provide some indication of
Australian export volume. This has been sought by several growers
in recent years, but has failed to gain enough participants to launch.
With the China market adding to an already vigorous trade to
markets such as Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore, hopefully this
is something we can implement in 2019-20.
The availability of seasonal workers has also been flagged as
an ongoing concern by many growers leading into this season.
On this matter, the seasonal workers incentive trial is currently
undertaking a review and many of you may have received a call
from the government seeking completion of an over-the-phone
questionnaire on the effectiveness of the trial and the state of
horticultural employment. If you receive a call, I would ask you to
make time to provide your feedback. This is a rare opportunity for
growers to provide feedback directly to the federal minister on
horticultural employment. Whatever your thoughts on the scheme,
the questionnaire provides opportunities to discuss other workplace
policies that affect horticultural employment. Horticultural labour is an
issue on which CGA receives feedback regularly, and rightfully so. It
is perennially an issue that is of the highest importance to growers.
CGA has made a submission to the review on behalf of growers,
but please take the time to provide your
Thank-you all for your support
during 2018 and we look forward to
another good year in 2019.
President of Cherry Growers Australia
horticulture.com.au/growers/cherry-fund | Summer 2019
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