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Insights April 2022

12 April 2022 |Horticulture
Workers in the field

Insights April 2022

12 April 2022 |Horticulture
The April update provides an analysis of production and pricing trends for Australian horticulture producers.

Commodity Overview

  • Table grape growers across the Sunraysia region are expecting a strong 2022 season with high export demand.
  • Supply of leafy greens and lettuces remains restricted following the heavy rainfall across parts of Queensland

Australia has now signed an interim free trade agreement with India. This will create new export opportunities for local producers. Tariffs will be eliminated over a seven-year period across a number of products. These includes blueberries, avocados, onion, cherries, asparagus, lettuce, almonds and celery. A halving of tariffs within the quota for some citrus is also included in the agreement. In further positive news, Vietnam have now signed onto the agricultural visa program. While this won’t have an immediate impact, it's hoped the program will improve access to labour in the long term.

Fruit

Table grape growers across the Sunraysia region are expecting a strong finish to the season. Export demand for table grapes remains high, especially within China which now accounts for more than half of the region's exports.  This comes despite a challenging 2021 when fruit was held up at Chinese ports. Unfortunately, recent lockdowns seen throughout China are expected to temper demand somewhat. Prices remain resilient, particularly for red table grapes. White grapes have seen wholesale prices decline over the last month due to a jump in supply. High freight rates and limited shipping availability is likely to impact Chile's ability to export to China. Chile remains one of Australia's primary competitors in the table grape export market. While table grapes remain in high demand, red wine grape growers are struggling to find buyers with many now dumping unwanted produce.

Mandarin harvest is about to begin in Queensland with strong production expected. Fruit quality may be impacted due to significant rainfall events state over the summer. Labour shortages remain a concern with limited offshore workers and minimal interest from locals. Export demand for mandarins is high with a lower crop from the US expected.

Vegetables

Vegetable prices are being pushed higher by rainfall, logistical issues, input costs and labour challenges. Domestic demand also remains high across the fresh produce sector, driving price increases. Supply of leafy greens, lettuces and some winter vegetables remain restricted due to heavy rainfall in parts of Queensland. Wholesale lettuce prices from the region now sit at a 3-year decile of 9.7.  Wholesale prices have increased by 63 per cent in some cases.

Nuts

Severe storms across major macadamia growing regions of New South Wales have caused crop losses. Queensland producers were generally spared. It's thought that recent rainfall and flooding across both states may have caused some quality downgrades. Harvest is now well underway in the Bundaberg region. Bundaberg typically accounts for almost 50 per cent of nationwide production. The Australian Macadamia Society has forecast production 54,930 tonnes at 3.5 per cent moisture. This forecast may be cut by 10 per cent once a complete survey of rain affected region is completed in May.

 

** The Citrus Index included oranges, mandarins, limes and lemons
* The Leafy Vegetables Index includes lettuce, bukchoy, cabbages, brussels, spinach, rocket, mesculin
Sources: Ausmarket Consultants, Rural Bank

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