AU: Cherries to China could be just the start for Tasmania

It has recently been announced that Tasmania has received clearance to export cherries to China. This is undoubtedly good news for the region - Australia as a whole has been trying to get market clearance to send cherries to the country for around 10 years now.

It's still early days though, as Lucy Gregg of Fruit Growers Tasmania, explains.

"The final plan and protocol are yet to be decided," Lucy says. "Once we know about this we will have a better idea about volumes and timing etc.

"It is possible that some Tasmanian orchards will be able to send fruit this year, but obviously it takes a while for a new market to establish and we are not sure what date exports will be able to commence."

It is hoped the new market could be lucrative for Tasmania. The reputation enjoyed by the fruit should enable exporters to seek a place for it in the most lucrative, premium markets within China.

At the time of writing Australian cherry export to China is limited exclusively to China.

"Currently Tasmania is the only region that is officially recognised by China as being fruit fly free and therefore the proposed protocol favours Tasmania with the mainland states looking to achieve access in 2013. It's the same with apples - Tasmania has Chinese market access, but mainland Australia does not."

Other parts of the world are already marketing cherries into China, but Lucy is confident that Tasmanian ones can hold their own in the market.

"We seek to differentiate in terms of size, seasonality and quality. We would expect the majority of the fruit entering China will be 30mm+."

It doesn't end with cherries - Tasmania has is already looking to the future and hopes to expand the range of fruit being sent to China.

"The longer term plan," Lucy says, "is to increase markets for Tasmanian grown berries - strawberries, blueberries and raspberries and we would see China as a potential market for these."

For more information:
Lucy Gregg
Fruit Growers Tasmania
Tel: +61 3 623 11 944
Mob: +61 408 977 725

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