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Australian grape growers to visit Vietnam

Released at: 08:00, 30/11/2019

Australian grape growers to visit Vietnam

Photo: Embassy of Australia

Growers and Grape Association in HCMC and Hanoi in early December to boost trade relations.

by Le Diem

Six growers from the Sunraysia region in Australia, which is responsible for around 99 per cent of the country’s table grape exports, along with the CEO of the Australian Table Grapes Association and a team from Austrade, will visit Ho Chi Minh City on December 2 and 3 and Hanoi on December 4 to introduce their products.

Hosted under the Hort Innovation Taste Australia banner, the trade sessions aim to cement existing relations and develop new and exciting partnerships.

Hort Innovation General Manager of Trade, Ms. Justine Coates, said Vietnam is currently the fourth-largest importer of Australian table grapes. “Vietnam is a key export country for Australia, and the Australian table grape industry has worked hard to educate consumers and promote Australian grapes in Vietnam,” she said, “Total Australian exports over the last year have increased 33 per cent, while exports to Vietnam have grown 81 per cent.”

Looking at the 2020 crop forecast, she added, the main table grape variety exported to Vietnam from previous years, Thompson and Crimson seedless, will see increased production volumes of 7.4 and 6.6 per cent, respectively. Moving forward, the ten-year forecast for main varieties exported to Vietnam will increase substantially.

Mr. Scott said several new varieties were coming into production for export this year, such as Sweet Surrender, Ivory Seedless, Sweet Nectar, Magenta, Sweet Globe, Sweet Celebration, and Luisco seedless, to name just a few. “Many growers have planted new varieties in large quantities under commercial licenses and have commenced exporting,” he said. “If any variety proves successful or demand is high from importing countries, additional plantings will take place to satisfy demand.”

He also said that Thompson seedless and Crimson seedless were still expected to be Australia’s main export varieties. “Australia’s most sought-after varieties by importing countries, Thompson seedless, is forecast to increase by 30 per cent to 76,000 tonnes, and Crimson seedless by 70 per cent to 122,000 tonnes,” he said. “Whereas Red Globe, being a seeded variety, is anticipated to see no change, at 30,000 tonnes. As an industry we are seeing year-on-year growth in table grape exports and this is a very pleasing outcome for growers.”

Mr. Scott will present an industry update during the trade sessions in Vietnam, providing key stakeholders with a seasonal overview of the 2020 crop forecast and the 5-10-year crop yield predictions.

He will also address new and emerging quality and safety standards and highlight the benefits of Phytosanitary Irradiation or X-ray technology used as a post-harvest treatment for grapes. “Australian farmers have strict traceability systems in place and all growers are required to undergo extensive training to be accredited for exports,” he said. “Phytosanitary Irradiation takes two hours to complete and involves a wave of energy like light or sound. It is chemical and heat free, cold chain friendly, and, most importantly, leaves no chemical or radioactive residue.”

Because the treatment is so quick and non-invasive, it allows for immediate airfreight. “This means Australian grapes could be in Vietnam within two or three days after harvest, which allows for a longer shelf life,” he said.

Australia is well-known for its high-quality fresh grapes, thanks to favorable weather conditions, effective irrigation systems, and advanced technology. There are approximately 1,000 table grape growers throughout the country. The majority of table grape farms are family-owned and operated. Table grapes are produced in all Australian states, with the majority being in Victoria.

There are about 170,000 tonnes of fresh grapes produced in Australia each year on average and about 62 per cent are exported to 42 countries and territories around the world. Asia is a key export market, thanks to its close proximity. Imports from China, Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong (China), Vietnam, and Thailand account for some 78 per cent of all exports of Australian grapes.

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