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New project to help horticultural exporters

Delivering premium fruit into export markets is essential for the success of many Australian horticultural industries, particularly to make the most of newly ratified free trade agreement (FTA) opportunities. However due to phytosanitary restrictions because of fruit fly in many parts of Australia, most of our fruit exports need an additional end-point treatment for market access. Cherries are just one local industry that would benefit from informed horticultural market access treatment decisions.

These end-point postharvest treatments include cold treatment, fumigation and low dose irradiation. While not all markets accept these phytosanitary treatments, their effect on product quality after treatment and out-turn are sometimes perceived as 'variable'.

Many of these end-point treatments are already used in many successful industries, but the development of new markets requires the exploration of alternative market access treatments and new export pathways.
There are many studies on the effects of different market access treatments on final product such as fumigation, but there is no direct comparative information on the effects of the different phytosanitary tools ( cold treatment, low dose irradiation and fumigation).

This one-year project will provide commercially relevant information on the direct comparison of different market access treatments on final fruit quality to assist large export industries (citrus, table grapes) and growing export industries with potential (cherries and blueberries).

A data set of comparative fruit quality following treatment and simulated export supply chain will provide growers and exporters with reliable, clear information to decide which market access treatment is suitable for a specific market pathway.

This will give exporters commercial confidence to use 'new' phytosanitary pathways to new export markets and realise opportunities created for Australian exporters under recent FTA agreements.

This project is funded by the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE) through the Agricultural Trade and Market Access Cooperation (ATMAC) Program and NSW Department of Primary Industries. The results will soon be available and be distributed widely to industry and exporters.

John Golding is a Research Horticultura/ist at NSW Department of Primary Industries, Gosford NSW Baogang Wang is a visiting scientist from the Beijing Academy of Forestry and Pomology Sciences, China. For more information on this project contact:

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