FRUIT exporters have shaken off a decade of backpedalling to surge ahead with increased output to foreign markets.
That’s the summation from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES)’s Outlook 2016 agricultural commodities report.
Between 2010–11 and 2014–15 the total value of fruit exports grew by $262 million to $770 million following a decade of contraction.
And the future is looking good as well- fruit exports are expected to increase from $821 million in 2015–16 to around $900 million by 2020–21.
More than 80 per cent of the value of fruit exports in 2014–15 was fresh.
Headlining the growth were fresh table grapes.
“Fresh grapes were Australia’s highest value fruit export in 2014–15, having grown to $240 million from $79 million in 2010–11,” the report said.
“Grape exports grew in 2014–15, despite the loss of trade to Vietnam resulting from biosecurity restrictions.
“Vietnam was Australia’s third-largest market in 2013–14.
“Exports to China and Japan increased markedly in 2014–15, with Japan becoming an important importer of Australian grapes for the first time.”
Fresh oranges, mandarins, cherries and mangoes also made the list of major fruit exports.
ABARES said cherry exports in particular have shown strong growth, increasing from $15 million in 2010–11 to almost $50 million in 2014–15.
Although the world is enjoying Australian fruit, the country is also receiving more than ever in various forms.
The value of fruit imports to Australia first exceeded exports in 2006–07 and has continued to increase more strongly than exports.
“In 2014–15 the total value of fruit imports was $1.2 billion, exceeding exports by $477 million,” the ABARES report said.
“This increase in imports was dominated by imports of processed products as Australian processors faced higher costs than major competitors.
“In contrast, fresh fruit exports grew strongly in the four years to 2014–15 to reach $640 million and exceed the value of fresh fruit imports by $246 million.
“Major fruit imports in 2014–15 included fresh avocados ($86 million in 2014–15), grapes ($72 million) and kiwifruit ($50 million), and fruit juices and other processed products.
“The largest sources of imported fruit in 2014–15 were the United States (mostly grapes and oranges), New Zealand (avocados and kiwifruit) and China (fruit juices and frozen berries).
“Fresh fruit constituted 30pc of the total value of fruit imports, with the remainder being processed products.”