Queensland persimmon growers have reaped the benefits of Australia’s latest market access deal with Thailand as the first trial shipment of persimmons to Thailand saw locals go crazy over the Aussie fruit.
The shipment left Brisbane last week on one of the few remaining flights to Bangkok, Thailand, following the cancellation of many international flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic with the fruit selling out shortly after arrival.
The shipment was the first batch of fresh produce from Australia to Thailand to use chemical and heat free phytosanitary irradiation under a new protocol negotiated by the Federal Government.
Queensland persimmon grower, Ross Stuhmcke, said that the new trial was an exciting opportunity for the persimmon industry and all horticulture industries.
“It has been far from an ideal season, with the drought and then rain during harvest but we were very committed to making this happen,” Mr Stuhmcke said.
“What has been impressive with this trial is the real partnership between industry, government, the grower and the importer. All have played an important role in its success.”
Thailand imports around $23 million of persimmons each year with Japan and New Zealand the country’s main provider.
Currently only Queensland persimmons have access to Thailand with hopes that the success of the first trial shipment will lead to an extension of the protocol to other states, including NSW where the fruit is also grown.
Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud, said the shipment demonstrated the Government’s commitment to expanding market access for Australian agricultural products, even during unprecedented and challenging times.
“While our farmers and exporters face the challenges created by the drought and now COVID-19, they still managed to trial this new pathway to market,” Minister Littleproud said.
“The shipment marks a major milestone for Australian farmers made possible through ongoing collaboration between industry, state and federal governments over close to seven years of negotiations.
“This was the first shipment of any irradiated horticulture produce from Australia to Thailand. Phytosanitary irradiation is a safe, fast and effective chemical free alternative to existing export treatments.
The access to Thailand’s market has been negotiated over a number of years, which Minister Littleproud said demonstrated a long-term commitment to bilateral agricultural relationships.
“The Australian and Thai governments continue to work together towards opening the irradiation pathway for other fruit exports, from Australia to Thailand and from Thailand to Australia,” Minister Littleproud said.