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Australian stonefruit industry sees a turnaround with favorable weather and market expansion

The Australian stonefruit industry, encompassing peaches and nectarines, is witnessing a significant revival this season, thanks to favourable weather conditions and expanding markets. Trevor Ranford, CEO of Summerfruit Australia, looks forward to a promising season ahead.

"The crops are substantially better this year," Ranford states. "We've had more normal weather conditions which are conducive to good fruit set. Some early varieties may not have full volume, but the quality is there – good size and good eating quality." This optimistic outlook comes as a relief after the challenges faced last year due to adverse weather.

"You could say it's a thousand percent better than last year at the same time, given the cold weather and rain we faced back then."

Regarding the sweetness of this season's produce, Ranford confirms, "From an early season perspective, the fruit quality meets domestic and international market specifications. Overall, we’re seeing much sweeter and more flavoursome fruit compared to last year, when the cold weather didn’t help with fruit maturity."

Domestically, the stonefruit industry requires robust retail support. Ranford emphasizes, "We need the retailers to ensure they're paying growers a good return and selling at an appropriate price to consumers. We can't afford products below production cost."

As for exports, China emerges as a primary market, with encouraging figures. "Based on export figures to the 19th of November, total exported was 770 tonnes, 151% higher than last year," Ranford reveals. Apart from China, Canada, Singapore, and the Middle East, particularly the United Arab Emirates, are strong markets for peaches, nectarines, and early-season apricots.

With the festive season approaching, the industry remains hopeful for increased sales. "Historically, plum exports don't start until late December, but peaches and nectarines see a rise in exports around Christmas," Ranford explains. "Given the right weather conditions, we can produce high quality, good eating products."

The Australian stonefruit industry is on an upswing, buoyed by improved weather and expanding market opportunities. Under Ranford’s guidance, Summerfruit Australia looks forward to a season of quality produce and robust sales, both domestically and internationally.

For more information:
Trevor Ranford
Summerfruit Australia