The Australian avocado industry says it is the closest it has ever been to securing new export agreements for avocado markets in Thailand and Japan, reports Western Australian grower cooperative Sunfresh.
Avocados Australia chief executive John Tyas is hopeful avocado exports from Western Australia (WA) will begin for the coming harvest in September, Sunfresh said in a press release.
Tyas said the main concern for both countries was Australia’s fruit flies, but negotiations over an export protocol for the flies had taken significant steps forward.
“Later this month I understand there will be some audits undertaken by the Japanese Government of pack houses in WA, so that’s a really good sign that things are progressing,” he said.
“Our government is in negotiations with the Japanese Government around a suitable protocol based on what we call conditional non-host status for hard green avocados.
“What that means is when the avocados are in their hard condition picked from the tree they’re actually not susceptible to fruit fly. It’s only once they start to soften that fruit fly can infest them.
“The protocol that we’re working on for Thailand has been presented to Thailand and there’s been feedback on that.”
So far, discussions have centred around how to manage WA’s Mediterranean fruit fly, but Tyas said the industry was hoping a successful WA export industry would pave the way for fruit from states with Queensland fruit fly.
With the West Australian avocado industry expected to increase production significantly, Tyas said new markets were essential for the industry.
“It is a concern and there are new plantings going in all the time, so it’s essential that we open new markets,” he said.
“There are other markets that we are trying to open. China is another one that we’d love to have access to, and there are other markets throughout Asia in particular that don’t have protocols.
“Most of our export fruit goes to Singapore and Malaysia at the moment and those markets don’t require protocols. We need to keep pushing every avenue that we can to get new markets for this increased supply.”
Tyas said he would like to see Australia’s avocado exports grow from 4 per cent to about 10 per cent in coming years.
Sunfresh Marketing Co-Operative is a Sunshine Coast based marketing co-operative that represents growers from the Atherton Tableland in Far North Queensland through to the Wide Bay-Burnett regions of Bundaberg, Childers and Gympie, the Sunshine Coast and right down to the tri state producing not only avocados, but a wide range of subtropical fruit.