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Strong demand for Aussie cherries as Korea FTA starts

The Australian cherry harvest has been under way for for 5 weeks in most states. New South Wales and South Australia will be finished up by Christmas and Victoria should be done by mid-February, while Tasmania is just about to start and will finish in mid to late February.

There have been some regional issues with hail and thunderstorms according to Simon Boughey, CEO of Cherries Growers Australia, but they have been very localised with some areas more affected than others but generally the crop has been excellent.

Boughey said there has been a lot of interest in Australian cherries from around the globe.

"China and other Asian countries have shown a lot of interest as well as Europe and the Middle East."

Today will see the start of FTA with Korea and import duties will drop from 24% to 0%, making Australian cherries very attractive. "At the moment only cherries from Tasmania can enter Korea, but the Korean government is very keen to have them imported from other areas too such as New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria.

"We are working hard with both governments on that and hope to have the issue resolved for next season," explained Boughey.

Last year only 10 tonnes were shipped from Tasmania to Korea from a couple of growers, "But this season there are eight or nine growers who could supply this market so volumes should increase considerably and we look forward to seeing the final figures for the season."

Vietnam is also keen to have Australian cherries, but there is a threat of closedown on this market due to trade issues.

"We are still waiting to see what the outcome will be. We are trying to make transitional arrangements, for the rest of the 2014/15 season out of Victoria and Tasmania " said Boughey.

The situation with Vietnam is the same for other fruits from Australia, and is not just limited to cherries.

Boughey goes on to say that the Middle East has shown a lot of interest as well, "Most northeren hemisphere countries have been making enquiries about our cherries, we can fly them anywhere within 72 hours and the quality of the Australian Cherries is a key point of sale and differentiation from other southern hemisphere competitors."

For more information:
Simon Boughey
Cherry Growers Australia
Telephone: 0061 3 62311229
Email: [email protected]