A berry bright future for lychees

By Hari Yellina

Commercial opportunities abound for lychee farmers, says Hari Yellina

Reports are that 12% of Australian households purchased lychees while they were on their grocery shopping trip. Hence, this amounts to an average of 345 grams per trip.

Australia is a nation that harbours the most extended lychee production season in the world. This season begins in October and lasts up to late March. Additionally, lychees are produced majorly in Queensland.

As of June 2019, around 2733 tonnes of lychees were produced and valued at $34.4 million. The wholesale value of the fresh supply of lychees was recorded at $33.0 million. Out of this amount, $29.6 million was reserved for retail, and $3.4 million went into food service. The supply per capita was estimated at 89 grams based on the volume that was supplied.

Not just that, the production value of lychees grew from 2,419 tonnes in 2017 to 2,733 tonnes in 2019. While the import values are negligible as Australia does not draw in a significant amount of this fruit, the fresh export volume was recorded at 466 tonnes in 2018, and this figure increased in 2019 to 484 tonnes.

Predominantly, lychees are grown in Queensland. Some of the other growing areas include Atherton, Bundaberg, Rockhampton and the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

Production of lychees has steadily increased over the past few years and growers and exporters are looking at targeting the US market by 2021. So, lots of commercial opportunities for lychee growers in the country.

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