Australian citrus cartons

Citrus Australia will use a federal government grant to fund market development work in India.

The peak industry body has received A$485,711 under the Agricultural Trade and Market Access Cooperation (ATMAC)programme.

The funding will be used to launch a project focused ondeveloping the market for Class-1 citrus fruit in India, including Afourer and Murcott mandarins andnavel oranges. The aim is to secure premium returns for Australian growers.

“The Australian citrus industry has grown its export programme through the reputation of our safe, quality fruit, recognized as the best in the world,” saidCitrus Australia CEO Nathan Hancock.

“This project will enable us to increase our knowledge on how to deliver this fruit to the rising higher-income demographic of India and build the resources and relationships to do so long-term.”

The project will includedetailed research into the India market, increased engagement with those along the Indian supply chain, dedicating additional resources to build relationships and capability, and conducting study tours and inward trade missions with Australian citrus businesses.

Citrus Australia has appointed Claire Fitchett as a market development manager to lead the project.

Fitchett most recently served as international strategy manager at leading Australian fresh produce company Montague. Prior to that she was market development manager at Apple and Pear Australia.

“We take great pleasure in welcoming Claire to the Citrus Australia team, she’s an asset to industry who will hit the ground running,” Hancock said.

The funding announcement comes just days after the industry secured a preferential tariff rate for mandarin and orange exports to India under theAustralia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement.

With apopulation of 1.3bn people – 24 per cent of which is classified as middle-income or higher – India has been identified as a potential growth market by Citrus Australia.

Hancock said dedicated resources were required to gain a better understanding of the market, and build and maintain relationships.

“We thank the Commonwealth government for realising the potential of this market and our strategic plan by providing this funding,” he said.

“Work conducted by Citrus Australia through this project over the next two years will put the foundations in place to grow exports of Class-1 Australian citrus to as much as 30,000 tonnes by 2030.”