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Australian mangoes could hit US shelves within two weeks

Australian mango exports are set to start heading by air to the US next week, from as early as January 30, in the next step of the Australian Mango Industry Association’s (AMIA) joint effort with Horticulture Innovation Australia to double mango exports within three years. 

The news of the first shipments leaving Australia came off the back of an announcement by the Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, that exports of mangoes and lychees will be allowed into the US on January 4.

Trevor Dunmall, Industry Development Manager for the AMIA with Barnaby Joyce, Minister for Agriculture

The plan is to target the premium end of the market initially in the US, where the expected price of $5-$10 per mango won’t be a stretch.

 It is expected that all varieties of Australian mangoes will be exported, and the first year will be a series of later harvest trial shipments to ‘learn the market’

“We’re not starting to dramatically move volumes of fruit into the US in the next two years. It’s very much about market development and setting ourselves up,” says Robert Gray, CEO of the Australian Mango Industry Association. 

The move is also about diversifying market risk, as the Australian mango industry currently only exports around 8% of its output, whereas growers of citrus fruits, for example, export a much higher percentage of market opportunities for market growth.

In terms of the export strategy as a whole, areas with affluence (growth) and that are geographically accessible are top of the list to expand. 

“We’ll be targeting premium markets. Populations with higher numbers of people with affluence, and which are geographically accessible,” says Mr Gray:

“There’s certainly a strong market in the US for those premium food products. Whether it’s New Zealand honey or Australian mangoes or lychees. We are not taking on the South Americans on price,” adds Mr Gray. 

The export plan is being implemented together with assistance from various state agricultural departments (Queensland and Western Australia and the Northern Territory in particular) and Horticulture Innovation Australia.

At the moment the focus with other markets is to do more business in Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Japan and Korea, and start in the US, but Europe still poses a challenge being that bit further away, according to Mr Gray. “With those markets that have phytosanitary requirements, like Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, the biggest issue will be efficiency of supply because of the necessity to treat the fruit.”

According to Trevor Dunmall, Industry Development Manager for the AMIA, many growers currently export into phytosanitary controlled markets. 

“Growers will be prepared for the phytosanitary requirements of exporting to the US as they already have experience meeting these requirement in other phytosanitary controlled markets,” he said.

Author: Kalianna Dean

Publication date: 1/21/2015
Author: Nichola Watson

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