Growers bring China the ‘fruit of the Gods’
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.