Vitor citrus grower study tour to Japan, Korea and Hong Kong, 2011 (CT11700)
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What was it all about?
As a major producer of southern hemisphere navel oranges, the Australian citrus industry had and would continue to face enormous challenges from lower cost producers such as Chile, Peru, Argentina and South Africa. These challenges had become exacerbated with the significant rise in the Australian dollar and the weakening of the US dollar and the fact that Chile had gained market access into the United States, a traditional market that had been extremely important for Australian citrus for the previous 19 years.
In view of these challenges it was important to maximize Australia's export opportunities, to increase consumption of our citrus products in Asia, and to identify new market opportunities. Asia had been an important market for Australian navel oranges and volumes of Australian navels have steadily increased into these markets over the previous two seasons as a result of the challenges highlighted.
Japan became Australia’s most important export market for citrus at the time, in both volume and gross dollars. Since the introduction of area freedom in the Riverland, exports to Japan increased significantly making this a strategically important market. This season other production regions (Sunraysia, Riverina) faced fruit fly issues which gave the Riverland pest free area a significant cost advantage.
Korea was a country that had a high consumption of citrus and was serviced extensively during the winter months by the United States. In 2011 a new market access protocol was developed for Australian citrus exports to the Korean market. Significant effort and expense was required to comply with the pest control protocols that had been enforced by the importing country. This market was relatively new for Australian citrus but would be very important in the future.
Hong Kong had and continued to be a very important market for Australian product and still remained critical for our business.
The objective of this citrus grower tour was to take leading growers/packers along with marketing staff to visit strategically important markets and to gain firsthand experience of how Australia products were performing compared to other suppliers both nationally and internationally. It had also given growers the opportunity to determine what issues needed to be addressed at farm, packing and marketing level. Grower visits into these markets also sent a clear message to our customers that they were committed to the market and were prepared to discuss and address any issues raised during such a visit.
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This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the financial support of Vitor Marketing Pty Ltd.
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