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Indonesian fruit exporters deliver to Australia

Indonesia's fresh fruit industry has succeeded in sending product to the Australian market for the first time, with boxes of mangosteens arriving on Thursday.

The growers haven't been able to sell their produce until now, mainly because of Australia's strict quarantine standards.

The consignment of one ton of the tropical mangosteen fruit arrives by air in Sydney, in what the export company hopes is the start of a bigger trade.

Banun Harpini, the Head of the Indonesian Quarantine Agency, says the company is working with hundreds of small farmers to grow and pick the fruit, and ensure they meet Australia's strict quarantine standards.

"We are very, very proud of that...we are able to enter the market which has the high standards," she said.

The breakthrough is important for Indonesia which is keen to prove its food products can be of international quality.

Commissioner of PT Agung Mustika Selaras, Catherine Joemono, says it has taken more than six years to prove the tropical fruit can meet Australia’s strict standards against pest and disease.

"Well I'm very happy that after we struggle for many, many years, now it's happened," she said.

It's now hoped that mangoes can be sold next.

Dwi Putra Setiawan, Manager of International Markets with PT. Agung Mustika Selaras says meeting the Australian standards gives Indonesia a new benchmark to negotiate with for other foreign markets.

"So whenever we can export to Australia, we can meet the requirements, it will be a good reference for us to export to the other countries,� he said.

However the trade in fresh food is also a political issue.
Indonesia has been criticised for imposing new import rules which are being seen as partly used to protect its local farmers.


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