ABC Rural By Carmen Brown
Updated yesterday at 2:36pm
PHOTO: The vapour heat treatment plant can process up to ten tonnes of mangoes per day (Carmen Brown)
Australian mangoes are becoming increasingly popular in overseas markets, but some importing countries require the produce to be treated for fruit fly before it leaves the country.
One of the few facilities capable of post-harvest heat treatment for fruit fly is housed at the Manbulloo Mangoes packing shed, near Townsville in Queensland.
Technical manager Rowland Holmes says the mangoes go through a 'vapour heat treatment' to meet biosecurity standards in both China and Korea.
"It's a hot air treatment that heats the fruit up to 47 degrees," he said.
"It holds the fruit at that temperature for about 15 minutes, to kill fruit fly, which is a quarantine pest for the two countries we're going to.
"Then it will start to bring the fruit down and cool it off to a reasonable temperature, that allows us to then pack the fruit and get it ready for sending overseas."
He says the plant is currently treating mangoes from the company's Northern Territory orchard, but will soon start handling large volumes of Queensland fruit.
"At the moment we're only doing about one treatment a day, so five tonne a day," he said.
"But once we get moving, we'll do double that, we'll be doing day and night shifts for both treatment and packing.
"From the moment we put fruit into the plant, until we actually dispatch it to the market, it can take three to four days.
"We're trying to cut that down obviously, so we can get fruit through a lot quicker."
Mr Holmes says the company is working with several Queensland growers, to help keep up with demand for Australian mangoes overseas.
"We have a number of grower-suppliers from Bowen, also from around this local area, because our own quantity can't keep up with the supply demand that we've got," he said.
"We've also got some growers in the Mareeba area that will be supplying us in the later part of the season.
"So in total, I think we have six growers lined up to supply us with fruit, including ourselves."
PHOTO: It's quiet now, but the vapour heat treatment plant will soon be full of export mangoes (Carmen Brown)