The Australian kiwifruit season is in full swing, with the majority of the fruit coming from Victoria. Alongside the Australian fruit is the early New Zealand kiwifruit, which arrived a couple of weeks ago. Creating the colour offering, there is Zespri SunGold which has reached the Australian market, and there was a red flesh kiwifruit (just finished) from New Zealand too.
“There are some customers looking to buy green Hayward kiwifruit from New Zealand, which is imported by us, and others," said Susan Lewis from Murray Bros. "So there is Australian fruit and NZ through into August, only NZ fruit till November, followed by Italian kiwifruit, both green and gold."
Murray Bros receive the NZ SunGold kiwifruit from Zespri and there is growing buyer interest on the market trading floor, “The quality is always very good and customers do ask for this brand as it has consistent quality and a great reputation. The gold seems to be overtaking the green each year as volumes builds.”
Murray Bros' import volume will be similar to last year on green, and up on gold.
“This year is the first year where there is no quarantine pre-clearance in New Zealand so all kiwifruit which comes into Australia must go through the quarantine clearance process. We host the quarantine inspection on site, where the inspectors determine further quarantine processes or they pass the consignment. If the consignment fails pest identification, options are: fumigation, re-export, or destroy. In most cases, fumigation takes place.”
In January 2020 Murray Bros’ two fumigation rooms became fully operational. The rooms are on one site within the Brisbane Markets, alongside the company’s 12 ripening rooms and 5000 m2 cold storage space.
“We use the fumigation rooms primarily for our imports from New Zealand however we also offer this as an outside service for anyone importing, exporting or domestic interstate quarantine requirements."
In Australia, the food service industry is opening up slowly, but in Qld, the state government is only allowing ten people into restaurants at a time, so in some cases, it is not worth opening the business.
"As a whole the market trading floor does get a bit quieter at this time of the year as we move into winter, but we have probably noticed it a bit more this year though because of COVID. All of our providore customers who supply restaurants, cruise ships, casinos & hotels currently have little to no market. We are hoping the restrictions ease soon to see these customers back in the market trading again. Meanwhile our fruit shop, and supermarket demand is sound and strong."