Grow­ers bring China the ‘fruit of the Gods’

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Emily Smith emily.smith@cnbtimes.com.au

WHEN it comes to fes­ti­val time in China, a gift of citrus is the Aus­tralian equiv­a­lent of a nice bot­tle of wine or a box of chocolates.

“Citrus is high on the wish­list for the Chi­nese, be­cause it is con­sid­ered to be a high-qual­ity fruit to of­fer the Gods,” mar­ket­ing man­ager for Swee­tee Citrus Dar­ryl Low said.

But it means there are sig­nif­i­cant qual­ity spec­i­fi­ca­tions on ex­ports to China, so when a group of North Bur­nett citrus grow­ers head to China at the end of the month to meet with the food com­pany Cofco, widen­ing this ex­port mar­ket will be a de­sired out­come.

Man­ag­ing part­ner of Ab­bot­sleigh citrus farm Michael McMa­hon hopes to be a part of this lo­cal del­e­ga­tion and said China took only his pre­mium, class one fruit.

Other coun­tries like Thai­land will ac­cept both pre­mium and com­pos­ite qual­ity fruit, and he said broad­en­ing their mar­ket the same way in China would al­low room for the lo­cal in­dus­try to ex­pand.

“This will re­ally help us gauge growth po­ten­tial into the fu­ture,” he said.

En­sur­ing the qual­ity of the class one ex­ports on their ar­rival in China will be another fo­cus of his trip.

“We want to look at their faces and see they are happy,” Mr Low said.

“What we are ship­ping is a liv­ing, breath­ing prod­uct and we want to make sure it’s get­ting to China in just as good qual­ity as when it leaves.

“As 90% of what we are ex­port is for gifts, it’s im­por­tant it’s re­tain­ing this qual­ity.”

A face-to-face meet­ing will also help ce­ment the re­la­tion­ships fos­tered in June when the Cofco rep­re­sen­ta­tives came to the North Bur­nett.

“Build­ing re­la­tion­ships is very im­por­tant when you deal with the Chi­nese in­dus­try; this trip will help bring us grow­ers and the im­porters closer to­gether,” said Mr McMa­hon.

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