THE NATION'S peak citrus industry group, Citrus Australia, and Research and Development Corporation Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation) today welcomed South Korea’s decision to accept Australian imports of blood oranges.
Citrus Australia market access manager David Daniels said up until now, Korea’s Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency’s policy only permitted Australian Valencia and Navel oranges.
Mr Daniels said it is just as important to see market access wins for smaller niche varieties of citrus, such as blood oranges, as it is for larger commodities.
“It is great to see that some of our smaller citrus commodities are being progressed for export alongside our big ticket items,” he said.
The announcement has come at an opportune time for Riverina grower Vito Mancini, from Redbelly Citrus, who made a strategic decision several years ago to redevelop his orchard and focus on growing blood oranges.
Mr Mancini said with his orchard now entering into full production and South Korea tariff rates declining rapidly, the timing could not be better.
“With the significantly lower tariff (an outcome of the Korea Australia Free Trade Agreement) we have had strong enquiries about our blood oranges this year,” he said.
“While we knew this announcement was on the horizon, we were not able to firm up orders; but our fruit has not yet reached full maturity so the timing is perfect.
“It is clear to us that the Korean market places a high value on Australia’s reputation as a safe and reliable supplier, and this is a great opportunity to supply the South Korean market with something that is a little different.”
Hort Innovation Chief Executive Officer John Lloyd said the Corporation has supported Citrus Australia throughout the process of securing the policy extension, and the key to continued trade success is all stakeholders working collaboratively.
“This South Korean policy expansion is the result of the citrus industry working together with Hort Innovation and key government agencies to achieve tangible market access results,” he said.
A series of trials – being funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia using the citrus R&D levy matched by the Australian Government and conducted by the South Australian Research and Development Institute – are currently underway to support expanded access for a number of citrus varieties to Japan.