A Northern Territory mango grower is hopeful that some late-flowering might help increase this season's crop size.
Harvesting begun at some farms in Darwin in early July, with small volumes sent to market, to date. The owner of Fruit Jungle Organics, in Humpty Doo, Darren Hill says mango production in the Territory is looking like it may be down, but it is early days.
"If you were to go by what has set on trees currently, I would say the NT crop is down," he said. "But in saying this, there is a big flower pushing around the NT currently and it is late. If this makes it through the hotter weather, then it will be a big season."
Fruit Jungle Organics has two farms, producing Kensington pride (KP) and also R2E2 varieties. Both are sold into the certified organic domestic market, with the excess being sold on the conventional market, and some R2E2 is also exported.
"The Certified organic market for mango is a small one generally the mangoes are sold to domestic agents, who then sell to organic shops," Mr Hill said. "Our partners are very pleased with our quality and shelf life, as this gives them the edge over other retailers, as they have our branded product with fruit quality and shelf life. Our goal is to develop the certified organic market segments and increase our plantings for our brand."
Mr Hill says demand is growing steadily for the company's branded quality certified organic produce.
"Feedback from customers that have purchased our line, is that they are happy to pay for the extended shelf life, and the quality and density of the fruit that they were not able to access before our product came to market," he explained. "One of the keys is that people who talk about organics are more likely to purchase more often. Also, new organic consumers aren't looking for specific organic brand such as ours they are looking at just organic produce in general. So, we are working on changing this."
Fruit Jungle Organics supplies both the domestic and export markets, but Mr Hill says he is still in the early stages of market development.
"It is looking promising so far," Mr Hill said. "We are always looking for partners to expand our brand both domestic and export with the Fruit jungle organic certified brand. Currently, our yields for Fruit Jungle is down slightly this year, but we will still be able to fill our certified organic market window. Most of the production is placed into the domestic conventional market and export."