Citrus export prospects looking sweeter

31 Jan, 2011 01:55 PM
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A recent visit by Western Australian citrus industry representatives to Malaysia and Singapore is leading to hopes of fruitful long-term relationships and trade.

Department of Agriculture and Food citrus development officer Nathan Hancock said export prospects looked very encouraging.

“With strong growth in the local citrus industry, we are planning ahead to expand markets,” he said.

“Importing, wholesaling and retailing representatives in both Malaysia and Singapore were all very interested, and the State’s proximity to these markets could provide WA with a marketing edge.”

The December visit was partly in response to a commitment by Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore, combined with a separate citrus industry wish to investigate the Malaysian market at first hand.

WA Citrus Leadership Group chair Shane Kay, from Bindoon, plus Agrifresh managing director Joseph Ling, from Moora, also made the trip. In Malaysia they were accompanied by the regional director of the Western Australian Trade Office, Verghese Jacob and visited businesses across the value chain from retailers to importers.

“Their main message was that flavour is more important than size, and sweeter fruit is preferred,” Mr Hancock said.

“For example, Late Lane navels are favoured over earlier varieties. But successful export is more than just putting the right fruit into a container and waving it goodbye. Building and maintaining relationships with the key players there will be essential for long-term success.

“Strict standards will also be needed to protect the WA citrus reputation.”

The WA citrus industry aims to form a group of prospective growers and exporters to develop the project over the coming season. A follow-up visit timed for when WA industry representatives can be armed with fruit samples is planned.

Nathan Hancock can be contacted for further information on telephone 9368 3780 or email nathan.hancock@agric.wa.gov.au

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