The first shipment of the tropical fruit was recently sent from Brisbane to New Zealand in what the industry hopes is a precursor to an annual 200 tonne trade by 2013.
New Zealand’s new import regulations allowing the fruit in require pre-export irradiation, and must be sourced from orchards using standard cultivation, pest control, harvesting and packing procedures.
“The Rudd Government will continue working to secure new international market access for our fresh farming produce, to underpin local jobs and economic growth,” the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tony Burke, said in a press release.
“The lychee industry already contributes to Australia’s horticulture industries and regional communities, producing 4,500 tonnes of the tropical fruit, worth A$16m each year.
“Australia’s lychee exports have risen sharply in recent years, with about 20 per cent of lychee production now exported, earning around A$3.2m per year.”