Australia’s lychee season is set for a bumper finish due to a late start in North Queensland. THE Australian lychee season is expected to end in a flourish after a sluggish start to summer.
Nanjing Night Net

Growers have foreshadowed a strong supply of high quality fruit will hit stores soon. The later finish is due to North Queensland’s delayed production.

The back end of the season comes as America opens its doors to Australian lychees. This fruit is now expected to overlap with other growing regions until late February, spurred on by ideal weather conditions.

The Avolution is a grower-owned business representing significant lychee suppliers. CEO Antony Allen said despite the delayed start, growers are hailing this as one of the best quality crops on record.

“Although we’re now two thirds of the way through the harvest, it’s clear that overall we have a high yield of top quality lychees and the best is yet to come,” Mr Allen said.

“So, for a lychee fan this is an exciting time with great quality fruit available at excellent prices thanks to the strong late-season supply.”

Currently on a strong growth curve, the local lychee industry has increased production this year marking sustained consumer demand for the exotic fruit.

“Across just four growers we work with, we’ve seen production increase from 30,000 to 60,000 trays in the past year which demonstrates that consumption remains strong and Aussies are continuing to discover the amazing versatility and flavour lychees have to offer,” Mr Allen said.

Australian lychees are also likely to be headed to America with approval given for fruit to be exported after irradiation treatment.

The Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are working together to formulate an agreement involving the exact irradiation process required and the supervision of the process by USA inspectors as well as the cost to both industries.

But the Australian Lychee Growers Association has reminded growers wishing to export to quarantine markets such as New Zealand and the US that they need to have a comprehensive spray program, and a thorough postharvest wash system to ensure the absence of live insects and eggs on the fruit.

Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce congratulated the lychee and mango (which have also been approved for the US market) industries for paving the way to open the valuable US trade.

Australia produces about 3500-4000 tonnes of lychees with exports estimated to be worth $18-20 million.

Minister Joyce said current consumption reports show most Australian-grown lychees and mangoes are eaten in Australia.

“New market access to the US is one way we can take our quality produce to the rest of the world – building upon Australia’s reputation for high quality produce and bringing greater returns at the farmgate,” he said.

“Access for Australia’s fresh lychees and mangoes were one of our agricultural priority market requests, negotiated under the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement.”

The Avolution’s Mr Allen noted the industry has set its sights firmly on the United States as a key target market.

“The lychee industry is currently working through the process of making shipments to the US market commercially viable. There is a three-year program in place which could pave the way for massive expansion of the market, and it’s definitely one to watch,” Mr Allen.

The bulk of Australia’s lychee production is sold locally with between 20 and 35 per cent of the lychee crop exported to Asia and New Zealand.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.