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Sarah McCormack - T&G
T&G - Montague partnership has successful first seasonLast September T&G Global announced that it had become the license holder of 16 proprietary blueberry varieties in Australia and at the same time had strengthened its relationship with long-term partner, Montague, based in Victoria, Australia. We caught up with Sarah McCormack, executive general manager international at T&G in Berlin to see how these additions to the company were coming along.
"We are still in the very early stages," explains Sarah. "We are talking to nurseries about propagation and we are getting expressions of interest from various growers. We’re also exploring which are the best areas to plant the blueberry varieties in Australia and what opportunities there are to plant in different areas so we can extend the production period."
The blueberry production will go mainly to the Australian market but if there are opportunities elsewhere T&G will look at those too.
"The Australian soft fruit category is still seeing double digit growth every year and there are definitely opportunities if you can have production outside the normal spring window when the demand is high,” explains Sarah.
The first of T&G’s blueberry plants will come out of quarantine this year and planting will begin in 2019, continuing over a three-to-five-year period with an initial target of 250 hectares.
"Our partnership with Montague has gone very well,” Sarah continues. “The timing was great as the announcement came just at the start of the season and coincided with Australia being granted more access into China for stone fruit. We have shipped good volumes into China via both air and sea, and significant volumes into South East Asia, and to a lesser extent the Middle East and Europe. The quality of the fruit has been great and our customers are very happy so it has certainly been a successful first season."
Parts of Australia have had some pretty bad weather recently which affected cherries but according to Sarah stone fruit fared better. Cherries out of Tasmania also had a tough season due to huge volumes being shipped to China from Chile, putting great pressure on the market.
"The increase in volumes being shipped from Chile is a worry to those in the New Zealand and Australian industries. Customers do recognise that New Zealand and Australia have a different offer with generally-speaking, fresh air freight versus sea freight but if there is such a difference in price when the market is so flooded there comes a point when the customer won't pay any more.
"Nevertheless there is still a lot of potential in Asia and China for stone fruit and we are lucky that Montague has such good volume of proprietary varieties and some fantastic brands behind them. We have had excellent feedback from our customers and there is plenty of room to grow. It’s an exciting time and we are looking forward to working positively with Montague and in-market customers over the coming years."
For more information:
T&G Global Limited
Mob: +64 27 201 2645
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