St George table grape producer Richard Lomman is one of many local growers who are struggling with low prices for this season's harvest.
St George table grape producer Richard Lomman is one of many local growers who are struggling with low prices for this season's harvest. David Barwell

Export sweetener for grape growers

GRAPE harvesting season is set to bear fruit for producers in Mundubbera.

Chairman of the Australian Table Grape Association, Mr Richard Lomman said the crop was looking similar to last year.

"Yields are on par with last year and last year was a light year, which was a good year for growers,” Mr Lomman said.

"The national harvest begins in Emerald with varieties such as Early Sweet, Flame Seedless and then Menindee Seedless.

"Similar varieties follow in the other Queensland regions and Northern Territory before growers in the southern states start picking their crops.”

Mr Lomman anticipates growers will be rewarded, with pricing reflecting the quality and supply of the produce.

ATGA also announced this week that the protocol for Australian grapes to China has been revised.

Chief executive officer Jeff Scott said China was one of the biggest consumers of grapes.

"The ATGA and the Plant Division have been working solidly over the last 12 months to get in place these important revisions to the 2011 protocol, which will be a real enabler for significant growth for the Australian table grape industry,” Mr Scott said.

"Last year's harvest saw 40 per cent of our total exports going to markets in China, we estimate that with these changes to the protocol, the value of the exports will be worth an additional $100,000 million to the industry.”

At the end of 2016, the Australian grape exports totalled 106,841 tonnes, worth $373 million.


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