AU: Success at home and abroad for a Western Australian citrus grower

One of Western Australia's largest citrus companies says growing export markets in Asia was its highlight of the 2017 season.

Moora Citrus says demand for its produce has been strong both at home and Export and Distribution Manager, Damien Guthrey says the plan was to forge ongoing relationships with one of Australia's largest growing overseas markets.

"Whilst our product range remained stable our focus was on achieving a better level of understanding of our Asian supply partners and how best to service them," he said. "This included trips to China by Moora Citrus and the return visit from partners in China to share knowledge around harvesting maturities as well as packaging."

Moora Citrus has been supplying the domestic market for close to seven years with the expansion into export markets coming in the last three years; beginning with the Chinese market in the first year and now it ships into seven different markets across Asia. Overall the company says it was an average year for production.

"We experienced higher than average rainfall across the season this led to challenges in getting the fruit picked at the correct times," Mr Guthrey said. "Despite these challenges the feedback we received from both domestic and export partners was positive. Pricing across the both domestic and export market was up on 2016 values."

The company supplies Navels and Mandarins throughout the middle months of the year, from May to October. However, there were a few hurdles the industry had to overcome in December, after the traditional citrus season had ended.

"There was foresight early to recognise that December was a problematic month for retailers with regards to orange supply," Mr Guthrey said.

"Talking to retailers it was evident that stored local Late Lanes by December were softening and had poor shelf life whilst conversely the early imported Navels out of the US were heavily gassed with low brix and a substandard eating quality compared to fruit arrivals in January."

Moora Citrus is one of only two WA growers with commercial plantings of Midknight, which is a late season, or summer variety. The unique, seedless and juicy Valencia variety is normally right up until Christmas.

"With the Midknight we saw the perfect opportunity to extend the season and solve a problem within the market," he said. "The Midknight is superior to traditional Valencia’s in both its appearance and eating quality leading to it being accepted as the orange of choice for retailers’ shelves in December."

The company also unveiled the largest citrus packing shed in Western Australia, in Bindoon, earlier this month.

For more information:
Damien Guthrey
Moora Citrus
Phone: +61 8 9653 1318

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