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Indonesia turns its back on the Burnett citrus industry

LOSS: Citrus is being produced for the world markets, but Indonesia has closed its doors to Australian growers.
LOSS: Citrus is being produced for the world markets, but Indonesia has closed its doors to Australian growers. Noel Thompson

AS INDONESIA shuts its door to Australian citrus imports, orchardists in the Burnett are left needing to find new markets for their fruit.

Central Fruit Packers manager Brent Chambers said the Indonesian market closing its door would certainly have an effect on growers.

"The fruit that is traditionally packed for Indonesia will now need to be spread over a number of destinations to fill the void," he said.

"This year's Murcott crop is well and truly above average and we will load between 150-170 containers destined for various destinations including China, Singapore and Thailand, just to name a few."

Mundubbera Ironbark Citrus owner Allen Jenkin said that about a month ago it looked as though Indonesia wasn't going to issue permits, and he had already found an alternative market for his mandarins and oranges.

"It is an important market and the loss of any market is not good, but we had access for the first half of the year and hopefully this closure is not permanent," he said.

Growers and producers in the Central and North Burnett are searching for new export options after Indonesia did not issue a quota for Australian citrus imports this quarter.

Indonesia's decision to dramatically reduce the quota for Australian cattle imports for the third quarter has now stretched to our citrus. Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers executive officer Peter Hockings described the lack of Indonesian import permit as a "minor hiccup".

"It's certainly not the largest market," he said.

"There are around 160,000 tons of mandarins exported from Australia annually and Indonesia normally takes around 2000 tons."

Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce had ongoing discussions with the citrus industry over this issue for several months.

Last week Mr Joyce announced Vietnam had now reopened the market for Australian citrus, which would be welcomed by farmers.

Topics:  central and north burnett citrus export indonesia orchards


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