Australia’s mango harvest has wrapped up, with the last pieces of fruit coming off trees in Victoria and New South Wales, as well as some farms in Queensland that grow a super-late variety called Brooks.
Australian Mango Industry Association chief executive Robert Gray said demand for Aussie mangoes had been strong throughout the season, meaning growers received some of their best and most consistent prices ever.
He said the size of the national crop was also much better than initial estimates.
“It’s now looking more likely that we’re not going to be down as much as we thought and we might even approach similar quantities to last year, so we might finish up with around 9 million trays,” he said.
“That would put it up there with about the second-biggest year we’ve ever had.
“The feedback I’m getting from both growers and retailers is the average value of fruit sold and paid back to growers were up on last year.
“Growers in the Katherine region [NT] are telling me they probably had the highest returns they’ve ever had in terms of dollars, so a combination of quantity plus price.”
Industry and export markets expanding
Mr Gray said the mango industry was in a stage of growth with new plantations being developed, older plantations yielding more, and recently-established orchards starting to come into production.
He said the 2015/16 mango season was one of the industry’s biggest for exports, with more than 12 per cent of the national crop sold overseas.
He said plenty of fruit had gone to established markets such as Singapore, Hong Kong and the Middle East, and also into new markets such as America.
Mr Gray said by the year 2020, the industry was aiming to export 20 per cent of the national crop.
Looking ahead, the current wet season in northern Australia has delivered below-average rain and above-average temperatures, which is not ideal for mango trees, but Mr Gray said industry should remain confident.
“It’s [the next season] going to be bigger and better, whether that’s in volume I’m not sure, but what we’re seeing is, that if volumes are down, prices are starting to make up for that as long as we focus on quality,” he said.
“So whatever crop is thrown our way next season we’re going to maximize the value of it.”