Australian Cherries from Tasmania Enter Lucrative Chinese Market

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | November 12, 2012 5:03 PM EST

For the first time ever, cherries picked from the Australian region of Tasmania will sail and be sold in the lucrative Chinese market based on the approval draft of the two countries.

This, as Tasmanian growers and exporters, through Australia's Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), acquired a draft approval from the Chinese Agency of General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) to sell the small, red  fruit in China. The formal signing is scheduled in early December.

"This will really help set the industry on a new course in line with its Export Roadmap 2012 to 2017 to lift the exports of Australian cherries from 20 per cent per season, which correlates to about 2,000 metric tonnes to about 20 countries globally, to 50 per cent per season by 2017 or about 6,000 MT," Andrew Smith, Cherry Growers Australia (CGA) national president, said in a statement.

"This is our industry doing its bit in the new era of Australia in the Asian Century as we will target other new Asian markets, as well as continuing to already supply the many we do now."

CGA, which actually had been exporting cherries to Hong Kong, a special administrative region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China (PRC), for the past 20 years. Nonetheless, it was a different case with the biosecurity protocols imposed on cherry imports to the PRC.

"There has been no protocol for the SAR but for the rest of PRC, we needed to negotiate a biosecurity protocol," Mr Smith said.

At the same time, CGA hoped the approval would open doors to other exporting states of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, especially since a technical meeting had been scheduled in Beijing in March-April 2013, where issues relating to treatments will be discussed and finalized.

"We get great feedback that Australian cherries are of the highest quality, have really strong appeal to consumers across Asia and command great prices," Mr Smith said.

Packed with antioxidants called anthocyanins, eating cherries daily help in the reduction of heart disease and cancer, help boost memory, aids in sleep and could cut gout, among others.

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