The Australian Lychee Growers Association Project Lychees to the USA has finally born fruit, with the first shipments of Australian lychees being exported to the USA on 20 December 2016.
After passing the required quarantine audit inspections in both Australia & USA, the Australian lychees arrived in the US in time for Christmas.
The approval to export Australian lychee and mango to the USA was granted in 2013 although the signed 3 Year Pilot Program Operational Work Plan between the two countries was not released until 2015.
The Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Barnaby Joyce, during his time as Minister for Agriculture officially announced the export approval for both lychee and mango to the USA. This historic shipment is the culmination of three years planning by ALGA, addressing the USA protocols, procedures and many other hurdles.
An extensive amount of work was undertaken by the Australian Lychee Growers Association (ALGA), the Federal Department of Agriculture & Water Resources (DAWR), Steritech Irradiation facility, Horticulture Innovation Australia Ltd (HIA), lychee growers & export agents.
Derek Foley, President of ALGA, reported that the quality and taste of the exported Australian lychee had received excellent comments from the USA consumers.
Mr. Foley said, “The Australian lychee industry and lychee growers taking part in the 3 Year Pilot Program have worked hard to ensure shipments of Australian lychee pass all inspections and this will hopefully see the continuation of exports to the US even after the 3 Year trial period.
This was a team effort stretching from North Qld to South East Qld. All those involved are to be congratulated particularly Jill Houser, ALGA Executive Officer, who did all the necessary background work to make the project a success. Eight lychee growers from Queensland agreed to take part in Year 2 of the program, with each grower supporting the project with their time and money. The Pilot Program required grower’s orchards & packhouses to be audited by DAWR before they were made compliant and approved to export to USA. Only USA & Australian compatible lychee chemicals are permitted to be used on orchards with growers monitoring their crop on a fortnightly basis to ensure that any pests of quarantine concern would not find their way to the US.
The lychees in the first USA shipment were grown by a North Qld approved grower, Marcello Avolio, and exported by John Nardi of Favco Qld. Marcello and his team of pickers, graders and packers, did an exceptional job with constant support from John and the Favco team. We are now anticipating more shipments from approved growers in South East Qld with export agents Daniel Lutman from J E Tipper and Martin Walker from Martin Walker World Marketing laying the platform for export sales into next year & beyond.
The Australian Lychee Growers Association is continually looking at new export markets for our lychee. There are times when the domestic market can be oversupplied; this does drive the price down for the grower so the industry strives for a better return to the grower for top quality locally grown Australian lychee.”
Mr. Foley said that developing additional export markets will increase the demand for Australian lychee but will still leave plenty on the Australian domestic market for lovers of fresh lychee.
For further information: Jill Houser 0417 639 927 or Derek Foley 0414 799 263