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Ongoing project

Export readiness and market access (CY16004)

Key research provider: Cherry Growers Australia

What’s it all about?

Beginning in mid-2017, this project is supporting the export readiness of the Australian cherry industry. It is:

  • Assisting in designing training materials and events for growers, packers and exporters on the requirements for export to markets of interest
  • Facilitating the registration and audit of export facilities
  • Developing and implementing a monitoring and management program for a range of pests and disease of quarantine concern.

The project is also responsible for maintaining a biosecurity management plan and the industry’s export manual; facilitating in-bound visits from trade markets; supporting industry attendance at international trade shows; and delivering an export strategy detailing market access, improvement and development priorities.

With mainland-grown Australian cherries now granted access to Vietnam and China, the project will have a role in supporting growers in taking advantage of both new and existing export opportunities.

This investment is part of the Cherry Industry Market Access Program – a high-priority, combined initiative to increase market access for cherries that will provide management practices and evidential support for market-access negotiations.

For more information on the work, to access copies of the Cherry Export Manual (including future updated versions), or for a copy of the cherry industry’s Biosecurity Management Program, contact Cherry Growers Australia – either Tom Eastlake at president@cherrygrowers.org.au, or the general Cherry Growers Australia office on (03) 6231 1229 or at office@cherrygrowers.org.au.

Project update: January 2019

With new market access to Vietnam coupled with new trade conditions to China, in 2018 the project’s focus shifted towards market entrance and maintenance. Ensuring new requirements were communicated effectively to growers and exporters was a key focus of the project during this time. New documentation and training on export requirements were developed to ensure growers and packers could meet the changing export landscape and were presented at three export workshops. The Cherry Growers’ Association (CGA) website continued to be updated with key documents relating to export market access, with the updated Cherry Export Manual also available  by contacting CGA here.

In September 2018, the Export Project Management Team represented industry members at international trade show Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong under the Taste Australia brand, a Hort Innovation initiative that aims to increase the profile, sales and consumption of premium Australian horticulture products in key export markets. As a result, numerous enquiries were received from importers from a host of countries across Asia, which were passed on to industry.

The project team continued to support the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in ongoing negotiations to improve market access and export conditions for Australian cherries.

The below update has been provided by Cherry Growers Australia, regarding the most recent full season in the project (2017/18). As with the 2017/18 season, the project will again facilitate export workshops for the 2018/19 season to assist with export registrations and share essential export info including the updated Cherry Export Manual for the season – details will be circulated in industry channels as they become available, and will also be accessible on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ cherry export page. Growers who are considering registering for China in particular for this season are encouraged to reach out now around the requirements, and to make arrangements for treatment providers, trapping and monitoring. Contact Cherry Growers Australia for more on this.

An excerpt from the project team’s latest report:

The 2017/2018 cherry season proved to be a very unique season. It certainly seems to have shaken off the old grower wisdom that “you never get a boom year after a bust year”. Yields were up significantly across the production area when compared with the greatly reduced yields experienced in 2016/2017. This strained some growers’ capacity to pick and pack fruit and get it shipped away. Also, inclement weather with significant falls in eastern states in November also caused some crop losses which reduced cherry yields, however the overall greater yield saw supply issues which became especially apparent post-Christmas, when the supermarkets did not buy for seven to 10 days. Avenues were limited at this stage with no access to China and some growers and wholesalers found it difficult to move through fruit.

Nevertheless, large volumes were exported to China and Hong Kong this season. Hong Kong being a non-protocol market and one of the mainland’s largest markets and China seeing largely Tasmania’s cherry exports, although some growers did manage to ship to this market last year.

Export statistics have been collated and prepared and circulated to industry for review. As usual, significant interest has been seen in growers ascertaining where they went and when and for how much. Pricing per kilogram was down on 2016/2017, but this was expected due to the very low yields and resulting higher pricing seen in this year.

Additionally, competition from Chile was fierce. Chile surpassed their record for cherries exported to China in early January, with 150,000 tonnes exported. Final figures were around 180,000 tonnes and this did impact the market – culminating in literally millions of cartons of cherries being found in China prior to Chinese New Year. The market was absolutely swamped with cherries and struggled moving through them. This certainly affected Australian cherries in this market, although strong export volumes were seen again this year in China with net growth compared to last year.

Export registration for 2017/2018 saw workshops held across Australia with large levels of interest at each event. It was pleasing to see large numbers again across the New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia workshops. However though mainland interest in the events was high, many growers did not register in consideration of the export protocols, which lacked airfreight at the time.

The signing of the China protocol saw interest in registering and exporting jump significantly, with enquires to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) and Cherry Growers Australia (CGA) increasing and being sustained. All registrations processed by the industry association resulted in an audit by DAWR and successful accreditation.

The China protocol (using methyl bromide fumigation) was eventually gazetted in late January, which proved just early enough for three growers to successfully ship to China. It is pleasing to have the first shipments under the protocol completed successfully.

Engagement with state and federal bodies recommenced in earnest after the new year, with developments continuing on the cherry protocol for South Korea, which is still being progressed.

The biggest issue facing cherries and indeed Australian horticulture is fruit fly, and never before has this issue been more prevalent than this season. CGA has worked extensively with DAWR as well as state bodies to assist in the responses to outbreaks and to seek to control the impact on growers.

As in 2017, export workshops will be held during 2018 to help with the export registration process and share essential export info. Details will be circulated in industry channels as they become available, and will also be accessible on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ cherry export page. Workshops are expected to include a debrief on the previous season; overviews of export markets; information on export requirements and registrations; and updates on export pathways and treatment research. As in 2017, the project team will also receive and lodge registrations on Export Registration Days.

In the summer 2017/18 edition of the levy-funded Cherry magazine, CGA president Tom Eastlake said in relation to exporting to China in particular: “I would encourage any growers who are considering registering and using the fumigation pathway [protocol] for next season to start dialogue with industry now around the requirements and start making arrangements for treatment providers, trapping and monitoring. There is a lot involved with this protocol and it will take significant understanding and preparation to make it work successfully.”

The project will also be delivering an updated Cherry Export Manual, to be distributed at the export workshops and through industry channels. It will detail all market access pathways available, as well as comprehensive maximum residue limit (MRL) to guide growers in details of how to treat for pests and diseases of concern when exporting to particular markets.

In regard to export market development, in 2017 the project facilitated travel to support trade missions to Vietnam and Thailand.

Upcoming export workshops for registered growers will be advertised in industry channels as details become available. The 2017 workshops were held mid-year in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania, and includes a debrief on the 2016 season; information on export requirements and registrations; and updates on export pathways and treatment research. Details were given on all markets where Australia cherries have access, giving growers a full picture of where cherries can be sent and by what means. Following the workshops, registrations were received and lodged by the project team. A similar approach will be taken for the coming year’s workshops.

The project also delivered the 2017 Cherry Export Manual, which was distributed at the export workshops and through industry channels. The updated manual detailed all market access pathways available, as well as comprehensive maximum residue limit (MRL) information to guide growers in details of how to treat for pest and diseases of concern when exporting to particular markets.

Related levy funds
Details

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