More Australian peaches, plums and apricots will be seen in China after Australia inked a deal with the world’s most populated country allowing more local stone fruit to be exported.
The deal has been hailed as a ‘‘game changer’’ for the Goulburn Valley.
The protocol allows peaches, plums and apricots to be fully exported to China, opening up trade corridors for Goulburn Valley growers, and the potential, some say, for business expansion.
Greater Shepparton City Council chief executive Peter Harriott said it was great news for growers.
‘‘That is a game-changer for the Goulburn Valley,’’ Mr Harriott said of the protocol signing.
‘‘It gives the opportunity for our fruit growers to access other markets.
‘‘But it does say to us, if exports are going to be a growing area, how do we actually transport the fruit?’’
Committee for Greater Shepparton chief Sam Birrell described the improved market access as hugely significant, because of the ‘‘enormous market in China’’.
‘‘These stone fruits are crops that grow incredibly well in the Goulburn Valley and I expect to see this lead to an increase in plantings and exports,’’ Mr Birrell said.
‘‘I expect people to expand already successful fruit growing businesses and to take advantage of this new market dynamic.’’
Toolamba orchardist Peter Hall said based on experience, the Chinese market could offer up to a 50 per cent premium on price, ‘‘which for a fruit grower is a significant boost in income’’.
Mr Hall echoed the game-changing nature of the approval to directly import into China, arguing it had finally opened the region up to one of the world’s largest markets for stone fruit.
‘‘There’s effectively been a lid on investment of stone fruit depending on the market availability,’’ Mr Hall said.
‘‘This basically rips the lid off and gives us open access to the open market.’’
Mr Hall was confident of the appetite in China for clean green produce, like that produced locally.
The orchardist believed locally there had previously existed ‘‘a certain cap on investment’’ arguing this could be about to change.
Next, Mr Hall believed the local industry would engage in market intelligence to assess and improve understanding of the Chinese market.
Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum was confident the approvals could see as many potential buyers of produce coming into Australia as there were local growers wanting to sell into China.