Australian mango growers and exporters are sending their first big shipments to the US this season, with plans to export between 100 and 200 tonnes in the coming months.
This compares to the first export season in February 2015, which saw 5.5 tonnes of mangoes shipped to the US from two growers.
The Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry & Fisheries Market Development Officer, Michael Daysh, says there have been significant developments in the market since February, with more growers achieving approval to export to the US and more exporters signing up.
“This season we’re looking at about 20 growers that have been approved, but they may not all ship straight away,” he says. “We had two exporters last [season] and seven this time.”
Mr Daysh says the response to the initial shipments was positive, with both of the importers that were previously involved again developing programs with their customers.
“I think that speaks for itself,” he says.
A number of mango varieties will be exported this season, including Kensington Pride, R2E2, Calypso, Honey Gold and Keitt, across a range of sizes.
“Australian fruit has a different flavour profile to fruit from other countries and so we anticipate that marketers will be looking to reach out to premium consumers, knowledgeable about mangoes and Australia, who are looking for new and different mango flavours,” he says.
While Australian mango growers have had some complications this season due to late flowers, Mr Daysh says the shipments to the US shouldn’t impact the domestic market this year.
“It’s 100-200 tonnes within an industry of about 60,000 tonnes,” he says. “As export grows, we hope growers will grow more fruit [to meet demand].”
“In the first instance it gives growers a different market option. As more growers get involved, the shipment volume can increase, and once the growers are confident in the market, we would expect that they will probably increase production.”
All mangoes to the US will be irradiated by third-party plants prior to export in accordance with USDA requirements, with Brisbane-based company Steritech the only Australian irradiation facility to currently have approval from the US.
Mr Daysh says export to the US started eight weeks earlier than last, with the first shipment sent last week on Wednesday 9th December.