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Australia Kicks Off Stone Fruit Export Season

November 07, 2021

The Australian Trade and Investment Commission recently announced that the country has kicked off its stone fruit export season. On Oct. 29, eight metric tons of peaches and nectarines were sent by air from Melbourne to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur by LPG Cutri Fruit Global.

Australian peaches and nectarines are highly reliant on air transport to reach overseas markets. Consequently, rocketing air freight charges and limited transportation resources caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may pose substantial logistical challenges in the new season. In April 2020, the Australian government launched its International Freight Assistance Mechanism to keep nine hubs in Australia well linked to 58 major cities around the world and support the status of the country’s agricultural exports. The validity of this scheme has recently been extended to mid-2022 in order to better serve this stone fruit season.

As one of the largest stone fruit growers in Australia, LPG Cutri Fruit Global not only has self-owned orchards in the states of Victoria and New South Wales but also purchases premium stone fruit from carefully selected growers. The company typically exports approximately 60% of the fruit it handles, with China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada and the Middle East as the key markets. However, this percentage has changed somewhat since the COVID-19 outbreak. According to a representative from LPG Cutri Fruit Global, the company has been exploring various packaging technologies to prolong fruit freshness. Now, owing to smarter preservation measures, the company has succeeded in shipping its products to Canada and the Middle East by sea.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, the production volume of Australian peaches and nectarines is expected to reach 110,000 metric tons in marketing year 2021/22, corresponding to a year-on-year increase of 5%. If labor shortages and air freight conditions show signs of improvement, the export volume of Australian nectarines is anticipated to grow by 15% to 15,000 metric tons.

In the last 10 years, Australia’s peach and nectarine exports have maintained an upward trend, rising from 4,000 metric tons in MY 2007/08 to 15,500 metric tons in MY 2018/19. This significant growth is largely attributable to Australian nectarines being granted market access to China in 2016.

At present, China is the top importer of Australian nectarines, with these imports peaking in MY 2019/20. Owing to unstable sales, Australia saw a slight decrease in its nectarine exports to China in MY 2020/21.

In fact, according to trade data from Rural Bank, Australia witnessed a drop of 35% in its fruit exports to China in MY 2020/21, which can be primarily ascribed to ongoing political tensions between the two countries. This sharp decline was led by table grapes and citrus, exports to China of which during the period fell by 40% and 37.9%, respectively. Although the decrease in nectarine exports to China was relatively small, Australian nectarine exporters are still anticipated to face substantial pressure in the new season.

Image: Australian Trade and Investment Commission

This article was translated from Chinese. Read the original article.


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