Future of oranges in focus at next week’s National Citrus Conference

12-Oct-2012

Biosecurity, growing navels, the juice industry and fruit fly are hot topics on the agenda for this year’s Citrus Australia National Conference, to be held in Leeton from 21 to 24 October.

Citrus Australia Chair, Tania Chapman says growers and industry members’ alike need to ensure they don’t miss this year’s conference and that there was still time to register. “Not only is there the usual networking opportunities - where we make contacts with old friends and forge new friendships - but the line-up of speakers is such that, as growers, we cannot afford to ignore their messages.”

She said growers and industry stakeholders will hear both local and international experts discuss and debate industry issues, including Mike Irey, a Florida expert on citrus greening (Huanglongbing).

The conference will also hear whether it is crunch time for navels. Citrus Australia’s marketing team will examine the consumer shift from navels to mandarins and easy peelers. According to Nathan Hancock, Manager Market Information & Quality for Citrus Australia, the hard fact is that navels are in trouble and this has clearly been seen this season in both the domestic and export markets.

But Nathan says there are options for changing to more popular varieties. A panel of packers and growers from each region will offer their opinions and advice.

“Growers are aware of the difficulties in selling navels and how the exchange rate and tough competition on the export market, especially from late Californian fruit, is causing many to sell at unsustainable prices.

“Late season Californian fruit will continue to be a headache for our market and remain on the US retail shelves for longer.”

This conference session will examine alternate market windows for navels and inform and analysis the situation. Says Nathan: We want growers to go away armed with the tools to decide how much of a market share still exists for oranges both domestically and globally”.

Other items of importance on the agenda include Citrus Australia’s Annual General Meeting (members only) followed by Horticulture Australia Limited’s (HAL) Annual Levy Payers meeting which is open to all.

An afternoon field trip to two local properties will highlight state-of-the art orchard practices, key biosecurity systems relating to fruit fly control and the value of using clean budwood.

To register or for more information click here.

Media Contact: For more information and interview opportunities, please contact Citrus Australia. Tel: 03-5023 6333

A PDF of this release can be downloaded here.

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