Increased trade with the Philippines and Canada were among the surprises in another record-breaking campaign for Australian citrus exports in 2016.
According to figures released by peak industry body Citrus Australia this week, exporters shipped around 6,000 tonnes of fruit shipped to both of these markets, reflecting a significant improvement on 2015.
As predicted, exports to the Chinese mainland continued to grow, with shipments coming in at 40,000 tonnes, generating $A72m in sales.
The value of trade to Japan grew by around 25 per cent year-on-year to a value of A$53m,while suppliers negated several regulatory challenges in the Indonesian market to send around 13,000 tonnes of fruit to the South East Asian nation.
Thailand has become a strong market for Queensland Murcotts, with volumes of just under 8,000 tonnes sent in 2016.
“This highlights the importance of free trade agreements (FTAs),” said Citrus Australia market access manager, David Daniels. “This season was the first season with no tariffs or quotas since the FTA [with Thailand] entered into force a decade ago. Back then, the trade was less than 1000 tonnes.”
Total citrus exports until the end of November were just under 220,000 tonnes, an increase of 10 per cent in volume from 2015. Overall trade was valued at A$335m.
“In value terms, this represents an increase of 24 per cent,” Daniels said. “So, for a moderate increase in volume, we have seen a substantial increase in value. This is due in part to a more favourable exchange rate but we are also seeing exporters focus on high-value markets with an outstanding crop this season.”