Australia industry body the Cherry Growers Association (CGA) has cancelled point-of-sale marketing material supplied by Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIAL) ahead of the 2015/16 season.
President of the CGA Tom Eastlake told Fruitnet that after three prior years of missing deadlines for supplying the POS material, HIAL would miss the deadline of 19 October, which would impact on the industry’s ability to distribute the material.
“State based marketing can still go ahead, with a portion of the $360,000 raised through compulsory grower levies to be allocated to state promotions, as it is each year,” Eastlake explained, adding that up to $5,000 can be applied for by each state. “The rest of the money will be rolled forward, pending advice from CGA on the direction of that money.”
While the marketing materials made up just a portion of the $360,000 of marketing funds, Eastlake said that as an impulse buy, the lack of POS materials will definitely have an effect on sales of cherries.
“Short-term it is a pain,” Eastlake said. “We’re now working on meeting the deadlines for next year, as well as the opening of any new export markets, or improving market access for countries such as China, and the funds can be put towards supporting export campaigns.”
Early indications are favouring a high-quality cherry season, with reports of good chill across the states and South Australia in particular looking at a significant harvest.
“Marketing could be a bigger issue, though,” Eastlake said. “The early indications are good and the hope is that everyone can market their fruit adequately.”
With Vietnam and Thailand still closed to Australian cherry exports, an embargo on imported goods still in place in Russia, as well as protocol inhibiting mainland cherry growers from exporting to China, Eastlake said there needed to be a more concerted push to expand market access for mainland cherries.
HIAL has been contacted for comment.