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Tasmanian Cherry Exports up 40 per cent

Fruit Growers Tasmania | Wednesday, 19 May 2021, 10.00am

Latest figures show Tasmanian cherry exports in the 2020/21 season were up 40 per cent on the previous year, and were the second largest on record.

“For the Tasmanian cherry industry to perform so strongly during the pandemic is a great credit to the many years of hard work by our growers”, said Fruit Growers Tasmania CEO Peter Cornish.

“Tasmanian cherry growers continue to invest in the industry, employing more people, increasing production through new plantings, improved grading, sorting and packaging, and a long term focus on providing the best cherries in the world for the most discerning customers.

“Despite challenges from a shortage of workers, meeting COVID-19 requirements and restricted air freight availability, a 40 per cent increase is a tremendous outcome for the industry and the Tasmanian agriculture sector”, Mr Cornish added.

Tasmania leads nationally, with 51 per cent of national cherry exports coming from the state, more than all the other states put together.

The industry was greatly helped by the Tasmanian Government’s support of the fruit industry’s efforts to find sufficient workers, and the Federal Government’s air freight support through the International Freight Assistance Mechanism.

The industry’s transport and freight forwarding partners also played a crucial role in this growth in a very difficult environment, with the new Cathay Pacific service to Hong Kong being a major improvement for the industry.

Worth $43.6 million to the economy, the largest market for Tasmanian cherries by volume and value, remains Hong Kong. This was followed by Vietnam, Taiwan, China and Thailand. These five leading markets account for 80 per cent of the cherry exports from Tasmania in 2020/21.

“Our top three markets experienced very strong growth, all increasing by more than 50 per cent. The dedication to fruit quality by our growers, with a longer growing season in the cleanest air and healthiest soils in the world, is a key reason why our cherries are in such demand”, Mr Cornish said.

These figures were shared with growers at two workshops led by Fruit Growers Tasmania in Hobart and Devonport earlier this week. The workshops, part of a joint Federal and Tasmanian Government funded Trade Project led by Fruit Growers Tasmania, provided information on export and domestic market trends affecting fresh fruit and vegetable producers and exporters.

Speaking at the Hobart workshop, Peter Cornish said, “It’s great to see Tasmanian cherry growers leading the way in national cherry exports, maintaining the No.1 export state position. Even with all the challenges facing growers and exporters over the past year, Tasmanian growers were still excelling and driving this key industry forward.

“Although, the unit values decreased 17 per cent, we still saw cherry exports lift by volume and value. The long term trends sees a compound average annual growth of 15 per cent per year overall, which is great for Tasmania. Our cherry industry exports over 2,400 tonnes to more than 20 countries worldwide and to do this it supports employment and businesses across the state from large to very small.”

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