The peak body for Australia’s citrus industry says it has been taken by surprise by the success of two formerly “non-existent” markets that have leapt to become among its top export destinations.
Canada and the Philippines are now in the top 12 export destinations for Australian citrus, each consuming nearly 6,000 tonnes of fruit a year.
Market access manager with Citrus Australia, David Daniels, said the growth is exciting, particularly as the Philippines economy continues to grow.
“A few years ago those markets were almost non-existent,” he said.
“I can’t say why that is, but certainly in the Philippines we’ve put a lot of effort in marketing and working in partnership with the Victorian Government and AusTrade to do point-of-sale material and work with their supermarkets.
“In my first trip to the Philippines I didn’t think we’d do much more than a handful of containers per year. Six thousand tonnes is quite a surprise.”
Business news publisher Forbes placed the Philippines is the second-fastest growing economy in east Asia, second only to Lao and ahead of China, in its March analysis.
Mr Daniels said now that Australia has a strong foothold in many markets the challenge is for growers to produce fruit tailored for foreign consumers.
“It really is about growing to market requirements and knowing what the end consumer wants,” he said.
“What size fruit, what grade, how sweet they want it. And there are certain cultural practices.