The Australian citrus industry continues its successful trajectory driven by demand from Asia for safe, healthy and sweet citrus.
Exports increased in value to AU$453 million and China became the number one export market for Australian citrus accounting for 112,000 tonnes (including Taiwan and Hong Kong ports).
Consequently, changes in citrus tree plantings reflect a move toward navel oranges and mandarin types at the expense of juicing varieties, especially Valencia oranges which have largely been removed in the Riverland and Sunraysia.
The Riverina is the latest region to begin to change its focus, with several large orchards now top-working or removing juice varieties.
There is a future for juicing varieties and the juice industry in Australia, and 120 growers attended our inaugural Juice Forum in Leeton last year, eager to learn more about challenges and opportunities.
However it is my firm belief that the juice industry must develop markets outside the domestic market to ensure its survival in any significant way.
Citrus Australia has formed a Juice Committee to focus on the juice industry and its objective is to find ways to drive returns to over $420/tonne for growers.
In the 2019 Juice Forum, we will explore some of the areas the committee will be working in such as export market development, market intelligence, juice quality and product labelling; all with the objective of improving grower returns.
The Australian horticulture industry generated AU$1.1 billion dollars in export in 2018, with the citrus industry contributing 39% of this.
Join us as we explore how we can add to this success by expanding the Australian citrus juice industry.
CEO, Citrus Australia