A long road to re­cov­ery

Roths Cit­rus still bounc­ing back from 2013 dev­as­ta­tion

Central and North Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - Adam McCleery adam.mccleery@cnbtimes.com.au

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.

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