Citrus exports are booming

By Country News

The Australian citrus industry is continuing to boom, as strong Chinese interests continue to drive export numbers up.

Recent market results released by Citrus Australia show the volume of mandarins exported to China has jumped by 171 per cent to more than 20000 tonnes, while citrus and orange exports have jumped by 78 and 56 per cent respectively.

Australia exported 273232 tonnes of citrus in 2017, with a market value of $462million, signifying a 19 per cent growth in volume and 32 per cent growth in value.

Oranges have become an almost $300million export market for Australia, with 197000 tonnes exported last year, growing by almost a fifth.

More than 140000 tonnes of mandarins were exported last year with a value of $144million.

Although still a smaller export partner, exports to India have also grown significantly, with the volume of citrus exported to India more than tripling, while the volume of oranges exported jumped 446 per cent.

Citrus Australia chief executive officer Nathan Hancock said the optimism in the industry was evident.

‘‘The Australian horticulture industry exceeded $1billion in exports in 2017, which was the first time we’ve achieved that in a calendar year,’’ Mr Hancock said.

‘‘The citrus industry contributed 42 per cent of those exports, which is a remarkable figure.’’

He said 91 per cent of Australian citrus exports was traded to 14 countries, of which 12 were in Asia, which underlined the importance for the industry to understand these markets.

He called on the Australian citrus industry to continue its work to reduce trade barriers into those lucrative markets.

Citrus Australia chair Ben Cant said strong biosecurity and food safety regimes made growing export markets possible.

‘‘Retail is changing rapidly, digital is having more and more impact on consumers, we need to evolve, adapt, survive and then thrive in this landscape,’’ he said.