THE signing of a protocol between China and Australia last week opened the export opportunity for Australian plums, peaches and apricots into China, and is welcomed news for Australian stone fruit growers.
The protocol will enable exporters to present a full range of stone fruit to the growing Chinese retail sector.
The announcement follows on from previous access gained allowing Australian nectarines into China, as well as building on the momentum generated through the Free Trade Agreement between China and Australia.
Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor, Cr Dinny Adem said, “This announcement is especially satisfying as council, along with State and Federal Governments, have been working diligently in advocating to both the Australian and Chinese authorities to prioritise stone fruit export protocols as a matter of urgency.
“Whilst we were encouraged that these conversations were positive, this announcement has come ahead of our expectations and has the ability to initiate a major boom for the Goulburn Valley fruit industry and our entire regional economy.
“Within the Goulburn Valley we produce 70 percent of the national peach crop, 49 percent of the national plum crop and 43 percent of the national apricot crop. This announcement will no doubt deliver enormous benefits to our stone fruit growers, and with the stone fruit season fast approaching it is perfect timing for the region,” Cr Adem said.
Local grower, Rocky Varapodio said, “This is great news because it gives us access to one of the biggest markets in the world.
“It’s going to be fantastic for this region because we have a lot of apricot, plum and peach growers in this area who will benefit from this.
“If we can get it right and service this market properly, there is enormous opportunity for growers to grow their business and plant products specifically for that market.”