Tasmanian cherries bound for China

Image: http://www.premier.tas.gov.au/

The first shipment of Tasmanian cherries has been packed today destined for China, revealed Premier Lara Gildings.

Image: http://www.premier.tas.gov.au/
Image: http://www.premier.tas.gov.au/

A significant milestone for the Tasmanian cherry industry, which is said to be the result of lengthy discussions between Australian and Chinese quarantine officials. Following high level meetings between the Premier, Lara Giddings, Chinese quarantine officials and Tasmanian growers during the Asian Trade Mission last September.

Ms Giddings revealed Chinese officials visited the state this week prior and are now finalising quarantine protocols which will unlock a huge market for the Tasmanian cherry industry.

“This decision has the potential to create significant jobs and opportunities for Tasmanians. Around 100 metric tonnes of fruit will be exported to China by 10 local growers this season.Based on experience in other overseas markets like Japan, demand is expected to grow massively to between 500 and 1000 metric tonnes within the next few years,” Ms Giddings said.

Ms Giddings believes the development will provide a huge boost to the Tasmanian agricultural sector, reinforcing the importance of  the state’s disease free status and reputation for safe, quality produce.

Local grower, Tim Reid said the first shipment was perfectly timed to take advantage of the peak Chinese New Year gift-giving period.

“With expanding local production, it is important for Tasmania to develop a range of overseas markets and the Chinese market, with its increasing affluence and cultural appreciation of fresh fruit, is a key additional outlet for our premium grades of cherries.”

Ms Giddings said the cherry decision was one of a range of positive outcomes from the Asian Trade Mission including including a resupply visit by a Chinese Antarctic vessel, the signing of a share sale agreement with Gouhua Energy for a majority stake in the Musselroe Wind Farm and strong investor interest in Tasmanian agriculture and mining projects.