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Ongoing project

Citrus market development, market access and quality (CT18002)

Key research provider: Citrus Australia

What’s it all about?

This investment will help the Australian citrus industry continue its strong presence in the global market, remaining competitive and in a place to reliably supply product that satisfies international requirements. It has three focus areas: maintaining and improving market access, delivering market information, and quality improvement.

To this end, the project brings together and builds upon the industry roles and activities previously delivered through the Australian citrus industry innovation and market development program (CT15012) and Australian Citrus Quality Standards – stage 3 (CT15013). This includes roles and activities of a market development manager and market development officers, to help the Australian industry facilitate reliable supply, seize new market opportunities, overcome challenges and barriers, access timely information on supply, market conditions, shipping movements, and more. Between them, they also maintain the industry’s export strategy.

Specific project activities are many and varied, and just some of them include…

  • Maintaining the Australian Citrus Quality Standards

  • Capturing and disseminating information of the maturity levels and quality of fruit for sale in the wholesales market during the season, as well as pre-season on-farm quality testing

  • Continued delivery of Season Updates for growers in the Citrus eNews newsletter, which provide a summary for the major citrus growing regions including seasonal outlooks and advice of nutrition, irrigation, pest and diseases and more

  • Provision of weekly in-season reports on shipping volumes and conditions in export markets

  • Provision of production data via InfoCitrus during the season – see more and log in to the InfoCitrus database here

  • Delivery of the annual Citrus Tree Census, available from Citrus Australia

  • Delivery of market-related regional workshops and forums, and participation in the industry’s biennial Market Outlook Forum and Citrus Technical Forum

  • Work towards annual crop forecasts, plus fruit density and sizing surveys to help inform the industry of the quantity and quality of fruit

  • Delivery of training for registered crop monitors, who are responsible for surveying orchards for pests and diseases as part of the process of exporting to Korea, China and Thailand

  • Facilitation of the industry’s online export registration system

  • Participation in and facilitation of export, variety, agrichemical and domestic/quality leadership groups, as well as Japan, China and US exporter groups

  • Provision of technical assistance to the Australian Government regarding market access and Free Trae Agreement negotiations

  • Participation in relevant trade events and missions.

During this reporting period, the project team engaged with industry (growers, packers, exporters and processors), retailers, government agencies, the research community, and other service providers to:

  • Protect the citrus production base
  • Prioritise market access and market development initiatives
  • Streamline export registration administrative procedures
  • Identify gaps in current research
  • Collect, aggregate and disseminate market information and market intelligence
  • Improve product offerings on domestic and international markets.

The team observed that the quality of this season’s crop looks positive, with eating quality and cosmetics excellent, for highly marketable fruit. Also, that the industry is in a good position to handle global challenges such as port and freight congestion, international trading relations, and economic shifts, as well as fruit fly outbreaks and labour shortages domestically.

While work continues to ‘optimise’ trade, the sector has access to almost every market in most cases, with only minor amendments to import policy required. The team is partnering with the sector and government to identify challenges and opportunities for trade optimisation. 

Over the past 12 months, the project team engaged with citrus growers, packers, exporters and processors, as well as retailers, government agencies, the research community, and other service providers to:

  • Protect the citrus production base
  • Prioritise market access and market development initiatives
  • Streamline export registration administrative procedures
  • Identify gaps in current research
  • Collect, aggregate and disseminate market information and market intelligence
  • Improve product offerings on domestic and international markets.

Under COVID-19 associated travel restrictions, it was not possible to travel as planned for most of the year. Irrespective of these challenges, the team made best use of video conferencing facilities to ensure continued momentum.

The development, maintenance and monitoring of the Australian Citrus Quality Standards by this project team and its predecessors has had a positive impact on industry success.

With more than 90 per cent of Australia’s citrus export trade to destinations under free trade agreements, the project team continue to provide related technical and commercial advice to Government.

Transition to the new retailer requirements for food safety assurance has been smooth, with the initial phase now drawing to conclusion. The project team will continue to assist growers and packers in achieving compliance.

The project team have been further developing relationships with overseas trade representatives, with a strong focus on the subcontinent, as part of reducing reliance on individual markets. As the sector looks to capitalise on expansion opportunities, the team continue to support efficient export processes, ensuring the industry is well-informed and able to achieve importing country requirements.

The project team has reported significant progress in engaging with industry on a several key activities, as well as developing and maintaining strong relationships with government negotiators, policy makers and regulators in support of positive sector outcomes. 

Specific activities have included:

  • Protecting the citrus production base, including support of the sector’s response to fruit fly and citrus canker outbreaks
  • Prioritising and progressing market access initiatives, including working with the Australian Government on additional production access for Australian citrus into the United States, on additional variety access into Japan, and on pre-clearance requirements for exports to South Korea
  • Streamlining export registration administrative procedures, including further developing the online registration system used by orchards and packing houses
  • Identifying gaps in current research and provide technical advice to the APVMA in relation to several agrichemical reviews
  • Collecting, aggregating and disseminating market information and market intelligence, including an initiative to capture and share weekly ‘on the water’ shipping consignment data for real time insight into three major markets (China, Japan, United States).

In January 2019, new retailer food safety requirements took effect under the Harmonised Australian Retailer Produce Scheme (HARPS). The transition has been smooth, with the project team providing accreditation training and support to growers.

Finally, at the time of writing, the Indonesia-Australia Cooperative Economic Partnership Agreement was in its final stages of review, with expectation for it to be in place early 2020. The Agreement provides some significant opportunities for Australian citrus and the project team has provided advice to the Australian Government on the best way to implement the quota system.

Related levy funds
Details

This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Citrus Fund