Export pilot program - year 2 update (Oct/Nov 2016)

3 YEAR PILOT PROGRAM TO EXPORT AUSTRALIAN LYCHEE INTO CONTINENTAL USA (EXCLUDING THE STATE OF FLORIDA) 
YEAR 2

October/November 2016 Update:
The 2016/17 lychee season has now commenced and Industry and export requirements, as outlined in the Operation Work Plan to export Australian lychee to the USA in Year 2, are progressing steadily.

The DAWR grower and packhouse audits were conducted in September 2016 with all growers & packhouses successfully approved to export to the USA. A really good achievement by all growers considering the amount of information, questions and paperwork each grower needed to supply. Traceability, spray records, pest monitoring, segregation of USA fruit and hygiene were some of the key requirements.

The audits ranged from between 1 – 1 ½ hours with growers being invoiced up to $550.00 for an audit depending on the number of blocks being audited.

The USA approved packaging is still the same as in Year 1; 5kg Black PET base, 5kg growers lid, 5kg CPP film polypropylene bag with 1200 perforations of <.06mm x .06mm over both sides of the bag (available only from ALGA). Every carton also needs a label with grower details, orchard number, block number, packhouse number, irradiation facility number along with the irradiation Radura symbol and wording “Not for importation into or distribution in Fl.” Due to the US lychee industry in Florida, the Australian fruit will not be allowed to enter this US state.

The Australian exporters taking part in exporting lychee to the US in Year 2 are:
John Nardi @ Favco
Martin Walker @ Martin Walker Marketing
Daniel Lutman @ J E Tipper

Each exporter has nominated a different US importer which will open up a broader range of distribution and consumer coverage.

Switch, for the control of pepper spot, was approved by APVMA in October giving the industry another USA & Australian compatible lychee chemical. The application for Switch was lodged in June 2016 and initially it was thought that the time frame for approval would be 6 – 9 months, but after submitting an urgent request to APVMA,
ALGA was extremely relieved to receive the approval after only 4 months. Possibly
still too late for US growers in North Qld to protect their crop from pepper spot.

ALGA is still waiting for HIA approval on the Concept form that industry lodged for
trial testing the effects of low dose irradiation on lychee in conjunction with (1) the
use of a post-harvest oil dip and (2) sulphur pads. Approval was needed by mid-
November to allow Project service providers to submit their proposals, the selection
of the service provider and then commencement of the trials. ALGA continues to
follow this up with HIA.

As we all know, this lychee season has been a little late starting but all going well,
the first shipment of lychee to the US is expected to be mid-December. Growers are
required to send their fruit away for MRL testing prior to picking and prior to
committing to a USA order. With satisfactory test results, there will still be audit
inspections at Steritech prior to the irradiation process as well as further MRL testing.
If any pests of quarantine concern are detected, the scheduled USA shipment will
need to be redirected to alternate destinations.

I am hoping that the next ALGA update will be to advise all lychee growers that the
first shipment has passed audit inspections and is on its way to Los Angeles, USA.

Jill Houser
ALGA – Executive Officer