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AU: Mango woes head south

A horror start to the mango season in the State's north may be followed by lower yields in areas further south, growers have warned. 

Lower yields in Carnarvon mango crops, harvested from December to January, may see consumers continuing to shell out slightly higher prices for the prized fruit.

Shop prices soared to $50 to $60 per tray last year, as Kununurra and Northern Territory yields were down by up to 90 per cent.

Now Carnarvon growers are anticipating yields 25 per cent less than average.

Some growers started picking early to try to cash in on the market gap, Carnarvon grower Gary Gibson said. 

"We've been doing mangoes for 34 years, this is probably the best price I have ever had, but then you have to be careful because there are people who aren't getting anything because they picked too early, " he said.

Growers in Carnarvon were also battling water restrictions. Starting January 1 water allocations were cut 50 per cent.

Ord Mango Growers Association chairman Geoff Warnock said consumer prices dropped after poor-quality fruit was sent to market when the Kununurra crop failed.

"I think because of the lack of fruit there was quite a lot of rubbish sent to the market that really shouldn't have been sent and, in doing so, they brought down what would be the expected price return, " he said.

The poor season is adding pressure to bring in overseas and interstate mangoes which local growers fear could import a devastating pest. 

Western Australia remains free of seed weevils - which are hard to detect until the crop has matured and destroy the fruit from the inside out.

Mr Warnock said industry representatives were set to meet the Agriculture Minister later this month to raise concerns about current biosecurity regulations.


Publication date: 1/24/2014

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