Feedback to import idea sour
‘Limes have no shelf life’
PRODUCERS are worried about the impact Tahitian lime imports could have on the local citrus market.
The Federal Government has proposed a plan allowing imports from five Pacific Islands nations.
Crossroads citrus owner Emma Robinson grows citrus near Gayndah, including lime.
She said while it was just a hypothetical at the moment, if it were to go ahead it would jeopardise the local lime market.
“Limes are very important to my production,” Ms Robinson said.
“It could have a very detrimental effect in future terms.”
Ms Robinson said Pacific Island limes historically did not meet the same quality as locally grown limes.
“At the moment they grow very poor-quality limes in the Pacific generally,” Ms Robinson said.
“They wouldn’t really meet our specs.”
Other potential risks are pests associated with the fruit and the inability of limes to travel long distances while retaining their quality.
“They have pest problems that we don’t have here,” Ms Robinson said.
“There would be significant quarantine issues to be overcome.
“Also, limes sea freight very poorly as they don’t have a shelf life, which is the main reason we don’t do it in reverse.”
Ms Robinson wasn’t too pleased at the proposal but said with it still in the hypothetical stage, she doubted it would be accepted.
“I think it was a vague suggestion and someone really doesn't know what they are talking about, to be honest,” Ms Robinson said.
The Pacific nations included in the proposal are the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.
Citrus Australia conducted a risk assessment on Pacific Islands lime imports and access manager David Daniels said it would build upon existing policies.
“Australia already has import policy for limes from various origins, including New Caledonia, although to the best of our knowledge no meaningful trade in limes has ever taken place,” Mr Daniels said.
The conclusion by Citrus Australia in the report was the risk management measures and operating procedures in place would provide an appropriate level of protection against pests.
I think it was a vague suggestion and someone really doesn’t know what they are talking about, to be honest. — Emma Robinson
PRODUCER: Emma Robinson said there would be risks involved with importing limes into Australia. PHOTOS: ADAM MCCLEERY
LEFT: Crossroads grows limes, among other citrus.