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Chinese news crew focuses on Australian citrus

IMAGES of this year’s citrus season in Sunraysia will be broadcast to an audience of more than 140 million people in China later this year.

The huge nation’s love of Sunraysia navel oranges has brought a television crew from China Central Television in Beijing to the region this week to capture the fruit’s production process in a documentary.

The team of four, which consists of a director, producer and two cameramen are being accompanied by a translator who is usually based in Brisbane.

The television crew arrived in Mildura on Sunday and will be in the region for four days.

They have so far visited citrus orchards at Nangiloc and spoken to backpackers who have been picking navel oranges.

The team has used drones to film the harvest in orchards and also attached cameras to fruit pickers’ arms and chests to provide viewers with a close-up view of the picking process.

The team has also filmed the navel orange packing process for export at the Mildura Fruit Company (MFC), speaking to some of the staff involved.

Director of the China Central Television documentary Christina Zhu said the six-part Legend

of Fruits series was expected to screen in China in late October.

She said people in China were fascinated by the freshness and taste of Australian navel oranges, especially in this region.

“The navel oranges are very famous and we did research on the internet and found out about Mildura,” Ms Zhu said.

“They are the best ones.”

Ms Zhu said the type of navel orange in China was different to those grown in Australia.

“The navel oranges from Australia are more popular than the ones in China, so we want to do a documentary,” she said.

Finger limes from Queensland and kiwi fruit from New Zealand will also feature in the Chinese media organisation’s documentary series.

MFC marketing manager Ferdi Bergamin said the documentary would provide Sunraysia and its citrus industry with valuable exposure in China.

“It will certainly help Australia get known more and more, the population over there is huge and to be able to be shown to more than 140 million people is a step in the right direction,” he said.

Last year, Australia’s citrus industry struggled to meet the demand in China for its prized navel oranges.

Mr Bergamin said over the past six years there had been a significant increase in the number of navel oranges the MFC had exported to China.

“We started exporting there in 2011 and we did about 10 containers, in the past season we did 650 containers and we are still not covering nearly all their orders,” he said.