Export pilot program - year 2 update (Aug/Sept 2016)


August/September 2016 Update:

The 2016/17 lychee season will be Year 2 of the 3 Year Pilot Program to export Australian lychees into the USA. The industry was unable to export any lychees to the USA in Year 1, due to incompatible chemicals approved for Australia & USA.

A spokesperson from The Department of Agriculture Water Resources (DoAWR) has made it very clear that the lychee industry must do everything possible to ensure lychees are exported to the USA in Year 2. The Operational Work Plan (OWP) between Australia & the USA is an agreement which covers the export of both lychee & mango. As the mango industry has successfully exported fruit to the USA, a satisfactory outcome of the pilot program now relies on the lychee industry achieving similar results.

In the event of this, it is anticipated that the trial 3 Year Pilot Program will then result in the USA market being open to Australian lychee shipments on an ongoing basis each season.

DoAWR are assisting where possible, with an assurance that their on the ground inspectors at the Steritech irradiation facility are aware that shipments of lychee will need to be processed, checked and then cleared for export to the USA, as a matter of utmost importance.

Grower registrations are now closed, and all growers & pest monitors have undertaken the required Pest Monitor Training sessions. The DoAWR orchard & packhouse audits will commence week beginning 26th September 2016 with growers being advised shortly after if they have passed the audit requirements.

Similar to Year 1, a small number of lychee growers are taking part in the Year 2 preparations. There are 8 growers registered, with 3 Australian exporters and 2 USA importers, all working towards the one goal of successfully exporting Australian lychees to the USA.

There are still hurdles to overcome although with Abamectin now approved in the USA, growers at least have an alternate chemical to use in the control of mites. Switch, for the control of pepper spot, is still waiting APVMA approval, and industry is still hoping and pushing for an earlier rather than a too late response.

As soon as this year’s lychees are available, ALGA & Steritech will be trialling the effects of low dose irradiation on lychee in conjunction with (1) the use of a post-harvest oil dip and (2) sulphur pads. Both are reported to be extremely successful in eliminating mites from fruit, but both need to be subjected to the USA irradiation quarantine protocol to determine if there are any immediate or longer term shelf life effects on the fruit. With a successful outcome of one or both, growers could be using these methods for exporting to the USA in Year 2.

Jill Houser
ALGA – Executive Officer