PRODUCE from the Riverland can be shipped direct to China without treatment for fruit fly following the Chinese government formally recognising the region as a pest free area for all horticultural commodities.
The Chinese recognition follows on from Indonesia’s recognition of the Riverland as a pest free area in December last year, and China’s recognition of the Riverland in May last year for the export of nectarines.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Lion Bignell said it was fantastic to see years of diplomatic negotiations come to fruition, with all produce from the Riverland recognised as pest free.
“The state government spends $5 million a year on maintaining and promoting our fruit fly free status,” he said.
“It is not always easy but it is certainly worth the effort to gain valuable new market access.”
The SA citrus industry is the main benefactor of the Riverland’s pest free status, exporting $102 million worth of citrus in 2015-2016, an increase from $71 million in 2014-15.
In 2016-17, SA citrus exports to china were valued at $9.1 million.
Citrus Australia, SA region chair Steve Burdette said the Riverland remained the only fruit fly free area on the Australian mainland.
“Maintaining our freedom from fruit fly requires strong ongoing government support, public awareness and industry vigilance,” he said.
“All of these stakeholders have demonstrated their commitment to keeping the Riverland fruit fly free because they understand the enormous benefits it brings to the industry and economy.”
But the Riverland is not the only SA region set to benefit with China agreeing to a range of protocols enabling greater market access for Adelaide Hills cherry growers.
But the Riverland isn’t the only SA region set to benefit with exports direct to China with Adelaide Hills cherry growers also getting the green light by the Chinese government following China’s agreement to a range of protocols enabling greater market access.
Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Water and Resources Anne Ruston said the announcement as a significant game changer for Adelaide Hills exporters, reducing the need for expensive fruit fly treatments that came directly off growers’ bottom lines.