China International Lychee Business Conference

2018 China Lychee demonstration orchard

The 2018 China International Lychee Conference was held 27–30 June in Conghua, a district of Guangzhou in Central Guangdong China.

An official invitation to attend the conference was extended to the Executive committee of the Australian Lychee Growers Association from the organisers of the conference, South China Agricultural University.
After careful consideration, ALGA decided that it would be in the industry’s best interest if an Australian lychee delegation was present at the conference if the industry wished to maintain an open dialogue, joint communication and ties with China—to keep trade and market access discussions progressing.
Invitation to Aussie growers
On 18 April ALGA extended an invitation to Australian lychee growers and agents to attend the conference.
This resulted in a delegation of 20 made up of 13 growers, six agents and one from QDAF.
Funding
ALGA submitted a funding concept proposal to Hort Innovation to assist with expenses to attend the business conference using levy and matched government funding.
This was approved as project LY17001 Lychee knowledge transfer at the 2018 China Conference.
Preparation
Before the business conference in Guangzhou, Derek Foley and I had a meeting with Adam Balcerak, the Australian Counsellor (Technical) Department of Agriculture and Water Resources based at the Australian Embassy in Beijing.
The meeting was to discuss and advise the lychee industry of the current Australia and China trade situation for progressing market access for Australian lychee.
Conference
The conference and business activities were conducted over four days with a separate round-table discussion scheduled for the international participants on 28 June.
The international collaboration on research, trade and market access—including the possibility and channels for Australian lychee export to China—were the main topics. Relevant marketing scholars of China Litchi and Longan Research System (CARS-L&L) and Chinese government officials participated in this discussion.
The conference also covered cultivars, machinery, field visits, post-harvest and processing.
Day 1: Opening session
China lychee industry development summit forum:
•Estimated 2.8 million tonnes of lychee were produced in China this year
-Highest production year in China’s history
-Harvest period to reach 130 days (mid-April to mid-July)
•China is 80 per cent of world production. Guangdong produces 50 per cent of China’s production
•China is transforming from quantity to quality
•Future direction of China market
-Branding of product
•Presentation of grower awards.
Day 2: Technical Tour
•Lychee wine and liqueur processing factory
•Lychee orchard and machinery demonstrations
•Continuation of Conference including:
-Overview of Australian Lychee Industry (Derek Foley, ALGA)
-Variability of lychee in Bangladesh (Md Jillur Rahman)
-Overview on current Australian lychee R&D (Yan Diczbalis, QDAF)
-Effect of full-cover ethephon applications (RB Cronje, SALGA).

Day 3: Lychee Conference
•Labour-saving production and theory
•Post-harvest biology and technology
•Processing.
Round table discussion
Delegates from China, Australia, South Africa and Bangladesh attended the special round-table discussion.
The attendees were informed that the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural areas, provinces and local governments in lychee growing areas, have attached a great deal of importance to the establishment of lychee brands and marketing.
There was also much interest in the functioning and roles of the Australian (ALGA) and South African (SALGA) lychee associations.
China relies on domestic markets instead of export due to post-harvest treatment protocol procedures.
Due to the volume of lychees produced in China, processing plants have become a solution for over-supply of produce.
Market access for Australian lychee was briefly mentioned—but it was a positive remark that this could ‘happen soon’.
Review
Overall it was an extremely interesting and busy conference with good ideas discussed and shared.
ALGA plans to continue the push for market access into China. We will soon put a proposal to the Hort Innovation Trade Unit.

Jill Houser, phone 0417 639 927
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 Hort Innovation Lychee fund