China gets first shipment of Australian apples

A shipment of Australian apples from Tasmania’s Hansen Orchards has arrived in China for China-Australia Business Week, in a move that could open up more apple exports from the state.

“The consignment of 210 18 kg boxes represents an investment in the China trade and getting a foot in the door of this important market,” says Mr Baden Ribbon, Marketing Manager for Hansen Orchards.

Hansen Orchard apples ready for export-webA box of apples exported by Hansen Orchards to China
(Photo provided by Hansen Orchards)

“This also potentially opens the door for the broader Australian apple industry with future access for mainland growers hopefully not too far away.”

The ‘Royal Gala’ apples were air freighted to the fruit retailing company Fruit Day in Shanghai to arrive in time for the China-Australia Business Week, which starts this week. Fruit Day imports fresh produce and delivers it direct to people’s doorsteps via an online ordering system.

Loren Zhao of Fruit Day went to Tasmania in February on a visit organised by Apple and Pear Australia Limited (APAL) to look for apples to purchase. One of the orchards he visited was Hansen Orchards.

“We are delighted that Tasmania’s Hansen Orchards have shipped their first batch of apples to China,” says John Dollisson, CEO of APAL.

“China is a huge potential market for Australian apples and pears because our fruit has a unique clean, green and safe image that is becoming increasingly popular among high-end consumers in the country.”

Tasmania is the only state in Australia that can export apples to China because it retains a fruit fly free status.

“While the fall in the Australian dollar has assisted in making access to China commercially viable, the biggest challenge for Tasmania’s fruit growers remains the very high cost of freight,” says Phil Pyke, Business Development Manager, Fruit Growers Tasmania.

Baden Ribbon (rt), Marketing Manager with Hansen Orchards, talks to Asian fruit importers on a tour of Tasmania with APAL in February 2014.

“The recent shipping of Hansen Orchards’ Royal Gala apples to China represents a growing Asian focus on Tasmania’s fruit industry, particularly in cherries and increasingly in apples and berries.”

As part of the China-Australia Business Week celebrations, APAL’s CEO John Dollisson will join the Australian Minster for Trade and Industry, the honourable Andrew Robb when he visits China this week.

“Thanks to Hansen Orchards we have a unique opportunity to showcase Australian apples in China. And what a great time to do it during China-Australia Business Week – when the spotlight is on Australia and when many government delegates are meeting and that could see trade opportunities open,” says John.

Hansen Orchards worked in close collaboration with APAL, Fruit Growers Tasmania and the Australian and Tasmanian governments, to facilitate this export of apples to China.

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