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Abare statistics suggest Government intervention in the Citrus Industry only a short term solution



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SENATOR TROETH

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Judith Troeth DPIE98/19T

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy 12 May 1998

ABARE STATISTICS SUGGEST GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION IN THE CITRUS INDUSTRY ONLY A SHORT TERM SOLUTION

“ABARE’s Current Issues Australian Citrus Industry report, to be released today, suggests that intervention by Australian governments, since 1970, to support producers has provided only short term solutions for the orange juice sector” , Senator Troeth said.

“Producers of citrus for the fresh fruit export market, who do not have a history of high level government assistance, have demonstrated an ability to compete with international producers of fresh citrus and single strength orange juice,” Senator Troeth said.

The report suggests that the profitability of citrus in the different regions reflects the relative returns of various citrus varieties. In Sunraysia, on average, citrus growers produce a higher portion o f higher valued navels, lemons and limes, mandarins and grapefruit than the MIA and Loxton where

citrus profitability, on average, is lower.

The ABARE data shows that only 10 per cent of Valencia growers earned over $6530 a hectare, compared with around 30 per cent of navel producers, and at least 60 per cent of mandarin and lemon producers. Valencia oranges are grown primarily for the processed citrus industry.

Australia’s ability to compete in the fresh fruit trading sector is further demonstrated by its ability to trade in this area with the United States. Australia has established itself as a supplier of fresh fruit in the US - one of the world’s largest producers - in the off season. .

"This report demonstrates that the development of export markets with less government intervention can be more profitable for citrus producers and sustainable in the longer term, and that we should concentrate on developing those areas of the market we are more competitive in,” Senator Troeth said.

The Government currently provides assistance to the industry through the $8.4 million Citrus Market Development Program which is designed to maximise Australia’s exports and move production away from dependence on the low-value juice concentrate market.

“Citrus is now Australia’s biggest fresh fruit export, with production growing nearly three fold in the last eight years, from 38,000 tonnes in 1989/90 to 110,000 tonnes in 1996/97,” Senator Troeth said.

Further inquiries: Senator Troeth’s Office: Alex Staples (02)6277 3002 0417 449 921

Internet: http://www.dpie.gov.aii/pr/media_reIeases/troeth/index.htinI

Parliam ent House canD erra ACT 2600 Tel: (02) 6277 3002 fox: (02) 6277 3205

Unit 1,322-352 St Hilda Rd StKildO VIC 3182 Tel: (03) 9523 9511 fax: (03) 9593 9971

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