AUSTRALIA : Northern Territory, QLD and WA mangoes could be sold to US under lucrative new export plan
Updated 23 minutes ago
Thu 20 Nov 2014, 7:22pm
Australian mangoes may be headed to the United States next year under a new plan which hopes to double mango exports.
The Strategic Export Plan, developed by the Australian Mango Industry Association (AMIA) alongside the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australian governments could increase mango farmer profits by 20 per cent over the next five years, according to AMIA chief executive Robert Gray.
Federal Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce visited mango growers in Katherine and Mataranka today to announce the plan.
"The US is probably the biggest consuming market of high-value goods in the world and premium mangos are hot on their list of products in demand."
Robert Gray, AMIA chief executive
The ABC has been told talks between the US and Australia are in their final stages.
Mango exports were valued at around $20 million but this figure could more than double in the next three years, Mr Gray said.
"The American markets, with greater than 200 million people, and all with plenty of affluence, has the potential to revolutionise Australia's exports," he said.
"It provides a great additional market for us offshore for high-quality great-eating Australian mangoes.
"The US is probably the biggest consuming market of high-value goods in the world and premium mangos are hot on their list of products in demand.
"The first year or so will be very much about evaluating the size and the potential of that market, so we are yet to put a figure on it, but it is certainly is going to be up there with our big countries of export."
He said the logistics of transporting mangoes to the US were "pretty challenging".
"But in conjunction with other our markets in the north, around China and Japan, which are a lot more accessible with sea freight, it really adds to our mix in terms of developing our export strategy," he said.
"There is huge potential for Territory mangoes.
"There is huge potential for expansion into all of those markets to the north."
We will increase supply to keep prices down: NT Farmers
An increase in exports would not necessarily increase the cost of domestic mangoes sold in Australia, according to NT Farmers Association chief executive Grant Fenton.
Industry was working with government to lengthen the growing season and grow mangoes in different zones, he said.
"Sending mangoes to China - we'd get mangoes on the shelf at $9 a kilo and Chinese mangoes sell at about $1 a kilo when they're in season. Fortunately we have a different season."
Grant Fenton, NT Farmers Association CEO
"We're also doing a lot of work on trying to increase the yield of mango farms," he said.
"There's a whole range of technologies being developed to improve our capacity to grow mangoes in northern Australia."
"That is probably the secret to getting a foot in the door in export markets.
"One of the other things will be improving quality - that'll be the game changer. If we can do that we'll be able to sell more mangoes overseas.
"We'll also have higher quality mangoes hitting shelves in Australia."
Industry needs to produce cheaper mangoes to compete with other growing countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Brazil, he said.
"Any export markets will be challenging for mangoes in particular becasue of the cost of production and the cost of getting them on shelves in countries where we have competitors," he said.
"Brazil can grow mangoes much cheaper than we can."
"It's always a challenge trying to compete with export markets where your product can cost a little bit more to produce than others."
"Sending mangoes to China - we'd get mangoes on the shelf at $9 a kilo and Chinese mangoes sell at about $1 a kilo when they're in season.
"Fortunately we have a different season."