Outlook for 2008 Australian citrus crop

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 10th April 2008

Industry participants from the citrus supply chain, from growers to retailers, have recently discussed
prospects for the upcoming citrus season at national forums facilitated by Australian Citrus Growers Inc
Despite the tough conditions created by the ongoing drought and low water allocations faced by many
Australian citrus growers, consumers can expect high quality, great eating Australian Navel oranges and
mandarins this autumn/winter.
Australia’s favourite mandarin variety, the Imperial, will be available from this month and Australian Navel
oranges will be in stores in May.
Good prospects for fresh citrus exports into important markets such as USA, Japan, Hong Kong, and
Malaysia as well as emerging markets in China and the Middle East will be challenged by the high
Australian dollar.
The most affected variety will be the Australian Valencia “summer” orange, with one of the lowest crops
forecast for 35 years. A combination of increasing input costs such as fertiliser & fuel; low returns; and
recent severe water restrictions has seen continued tree removals and/or no irrigation strategies applied.
This will continue to affect the availability of fresh Australian orange juice, but consumers are urged to
support Australian farmers coping with drought by continuing to purchase high quality, fresh Australian
juice. Look for the “Aussie Grown – supported by Australian citrus growers” logo, or the words “Not From
Concentrate”, or “Product of Australia”.

As one of only a few permanent perennial tree crops with critical export and domestic fresh fruit
harvesting requirements during the first quarter of 2008/09 the industry must be assured, even a minimal,
water allocation. Irrigation water is also used to minimise the risk of a damaging frost.
Participants at the Forums were also briefed on the status of the industry organisational restructure as
well as the national internet-based information system: InfoCitrus designed to capture commercial
transactions on a weekly basis and return timely collated reports for better decision making along the
citrus supply chain.