A long road to recovery
Roths Citrus still bouncing back from 2013 devastation
ROTHS Citrus suffered business crippling damage during the 2013 floods and owners Ken and Megan along with dedicated staff have been working their way back ever since.
Roths Citrus used to export a large number of its firm mandarins before the flood and have worked hard to get back in to that level of productivity.
“We used to do about 23 containers of Murcotts and eight to 10 for Novas before the flood. Last year we probably did about 10 containers with our Nova mandarins,” Mr Roth said.
Higher than average export prices helped sustain the business despite the limited number of exports out of Roths Citrus last year.
“It really did especially because the domestic prices were terrible for mandarins,” Mr Roth said.
“Imperials were the worst prices I think we’ve ever seen.”
Mr Roth attributed the low domestic value of mandarins to a variety of factors.
“There was a big supply of mandarins and some growers were jumping in too early and putting out an inferior product,” Mr Roth said.
“That turned a lot of people away early on, and the large volumes didn’t help with prices.”
Short of government regulation, Mr Roth can’t see how to stop producers from flooding the market early with inferior fruit.
Strong export prices are a key to maintaining profitability Mr Roth said.
“When the Australian dollar is at the price it is now, around 70 to 75 cents then things work out well for us,” Mr Roth said.
The strong demand for Australian citrus in Asia is also helping to keep the export market strong.
“That’s for sure and more and more countries in Asia are starting to take our fruit, it’s not just China but the Philippines and India as well. But you have to have right mandarins for export. ” Mr Roth said.
“Countries in Asia view Australia as a clean and green market but when the Australian dollar gets to a certain height they will tend to back off a bit.
“Ones that will carry the distance. Murcotts are good for export, any of the firmer mandarins, we will be exporting a lot more Novas in the future.”
Mr Roth said he hoped to see his production get back to full yield in another eight years, with capacity already back up to two thirds of what it was prior to the floods.
“Slowly but surely we are building back up, another flood event would ruin us though,” Mr Roth said. PHOTOS: ADAM MCCLEERY
“Export in general was very good last year and we have done reasonably well, considering two thirds of our export volume was washed away in the flood,” Mr Roth said.
“As long as the dollar remains at a good price things look good.”
There was a big supply of mandarins and some growers were jumping in too early and putting out an inferior product . — Ken Roth
REBUILDING: Citrus producer Ken Roth is bouncing back from flood damage thanks to strong export prices. PHOTO: ADAM MCCLEERY
REBUILDING: Export prices have helped Ken Roth with produce recovery.
GETTING THERE: Mr Roth expects it to be another 8 years before full yield.
THINNING: Ken Roth is looking forward to the 2017 season.