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Jill Houser - Australian Lychee Growers Association

Australian lychee is on the increase not only domestically but also to overseas destinations

Lychees were introduced into Australia more than 150 years ago and over this time the industry has developed from a "small exotic fruit" industry into a progressive and robust industry. The Australian Lychee industry is represented by the industry's Peak Industry Body, the Australian Lychee Growers Association (ALGA), with the industry's annual production ranging between 2500 – 3000 tonnes. With approx. 250 lychee orchards spread throughout the growing regions lychees are harvested from October in Far North Queensland to early April in New South Wales.

"The industry has a significant advantage over other suppliers on world markets, as no other country can offer such a long line of supply of quality controlled fresh lychee product. The Australian Lychee season is also counter seasonal to any Northern Hemisphere lychee growing regions which is also another definite advantage. The demand for Australian lychee is on the increase not only domestically but also to overseas destinations. New export markets are opening up for all growers and the Australian Lychee Industry is committed to establishing new export markets and increasing existing export markets," explains Jill Houser, Executive Officer, Australian Lychee Growers Association

International Markets

The Australian lychee industry has been exporting to overseas destinations for more than 30 years. Many of these destinations are non-quarantine countries which enables all growers with good pre and post-harvest quality control and industry standard grading requirements to export their produce. Non-quarantine countries where Australian lychees are exported to include: Hong Kong, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, UK, Europe and UAE.

Countries requiring phytosanitary certification which Australian lychee have gained market access into include: New Zealand, The US (excluding the State of Florida) and Indonesia.

"ALGA has submitted market access proposals for Australian lychee into Vietnam, Thailand, China and Taiwan with plans to submit further market access applications for India, South Korea and Japan within the next 12 months. Lychee exports have experienced strong growth, albeit with some fluctuations due to seasonal conditions. Annual production is currently meeting the domestic demand and consumption with approx. 20-25% of production for export markets.

"Over the past 5 -10 years, there has been an increase in plantings of the Kwai Mai Pink variety as well as newer varieties pf Chompogo, Baitaying and Erdon Lee. The industry is predicting an increase to the annual tonnage once these new plantings reach maturity. Due to the anticipated growth in production for the Australian lychee industry it is essential that the industry continue to consider future export market opportunities. The industry has identified key markets in East and South-East Asia countries where Australian lychees could be exported to during the Northern Hemisphere off season. Fruit could be available to consumers in time for gift giving at Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year festivals, Spring festival season and Pagoda Festival."

The Kwai Mai Pink lychee is the most widely grown variety in Australia. It is well regarded by Australian customers/consumers for appearance, shelf life, taste and price. Kwai Mai Pink has become the main export variety especially to Hong Kong, USA and Canada. The late cropping Wai Chee is also gaining export recognition with the small seeded Salathiel popular with buyers in Singapore. Other well-known varieties include: Tai So, Fay Zee Siu, Souey Tung, Sah Keng and Kaimana.

During the past 10 years, newer varieties have been developed and are now becoming popular with the Australian growers and consumers. These include; Chompogo, Baitaying, Erdon Lee, Linsansue, Red Ball, Sansuelin and Shuang Balia. Due to poor fruit set and irregular flowering, growers are now planting more of the newer varieties and phasing out the older disappointing varieties of Tai So, Fay Zee Siu, and Souey Tung.

For more information:
Jill Houser
Australian Lychee Growers Association
Tel: +61 417 639 927
[email protected]