Skip to main content
Historical document

Enhancing the market performance of the Queensland citrus industry (CT06031)

Key research provider: Citrus Australia Limited
Publication date: September, 2009

This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.

What was it all about?

Project CT06031 was essentially a marketing focussed IDO project. The profitability of horticultural industries was largely determined by the performance of the supply chain, rather than production issues. To this end, Queensland Citrus Growers Inc initially carried out a consultancy project to examine the issues pertaining to the domestic marketing of Queensland citrus, and particularly Imperial mandarins, which identified the need for greater co-ordination and co-operation within the industry, developed a Queensland Mandarin Marketing Action Plan, and recommended that the industry engage an Industry Development Officer to facilitate the implementation of the Plan.

The five key strategic areas in the project were:

Managing Supply:

Establishing systems and compiling supply information for the purposes of market intelligence and market co-ordination. Particular initiatives included crop forecasts, compilation of weekly packing figures, introduction of the InfoCitrus program, acquisition of commercial market reports, retail monitoring and liaison, weekly marketing teleconferences, compilation of all market intelligence for distribution to growers, and the compilation of supply and price statistics to track each season and for year-on-year comparisons.


Development and voluntary adoption by growers of internal (maturity) and external (physical) quality specifications. Quality initiatives started with new voluntary Imperial mandarin specifications including maturity standards, and was followed by on-farm and in-shed monitoring by the IDO of physical quality and maturity for season commencement, quality outturn monitoring of consignments into the Sydney Markets by Rudge Produce Service, trialling of Near Infrared Technology for the non destructive monitoring of maturity levels in the field, and ultimately the expansion of the quality specifications to all varieties of mandarins and all citrus types with the production of a Standards Manual and associated materials and aids for growers, fruit pickers and for packing shed staff.


Pursuing the long term aim of national mandarin promotions and co-ordinating short-term promotions. The project reconstructed the promotions capacity of the Queensland citrus industry which was lost when state statutory levies were abolished in 2003. Funding arrangements were established with voluntary grower/marketer levies. This funded promotions programs which increased in scale and professionalism each year and also enabled QCG to build up a reserve fund to provide a solid financial foundation for future promotions.


In a deregulated growing and marketing environment where growers were free to do what they wished, communications were essential to build industry unity and to get growers on board with the marketing strategy. Components of the marketing strategy included a weekly IDO newsletter, pre and post season grower meetings, distribution of market intelligence information (market reports, supply information, weekly marketing group teleconference reports, and quality assessment reports), IDO farm and packing shed visits, and grower alerts/advisory notices as required.


Most funding for the VC came from the QCG research fund topped up from membership fee income. Other Federal Government grant funding was obtained for the original RCS Pty Ltd consultancy on the Marketing of Queensland Citrus, and for the Standards Manual Project. Voluntary grower and marketer contributions also funded the promotions programs each year, and the project enabled QCG to construct a strong voluntary funding system for future promotions.


Notwithstanding significant challenges, the project delivered a number of important long term benefits, including: much better communication and co-operation throughout the industry, a more market focussed industry, a marked improvement in product quality and minimisation of the immature fruit problem at season commencement, a new set of resources in the form of a standards manual and associated resources (posters and picking/packing guides), the industry trialled new technologies such as NIR for non-destructive maturity testing, and the industry developed the capacity to run professional promotions programs in mainstream media underpinned by reliable voluntary funding arrangements.


0 7341 2208 X

Funding statement:
This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the voluntary financial support of Citrus Australia Limited.

Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2009. The Final Research Report (in part or as whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation (except as may be permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)).