Why stonefruit growers are urging Aussies to support them

By Our Reporter

Great season and export issues means good eating for Aussies this autumn

Stonefruit growers are urging Aussies to buy stonefruit this autumn as a decrease in exports has led to a surplus of peaches, plums and nectarines. It’s been ideal weather for the fruit, but growers are desperate to try to save the season after ongoing problems with lack of workers have already seen them lose hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It is estimated that the Australian horticultural industry will lose approximately $42-45 million this season due to the lack of workforce caused by the pandemic. This means individual growers are already seeing $300-500k worth of fruit left on trees.

Now, with logistics during a pandemic being difficult, stonefruit growers are struggling to get their picked stock to China, Singapore, UAE, Malaysia and beyond. Exports of stonefruit have decreased this year by approximately 22%. To make matters worse, growers had prepared for an increase in exports of about 10% this season, so there is around 32% of surplus fruit for Australian consumption.

Victorian growers supply approximately 70% of the stonefruit bought on the eastern seaboard of Australia. The major growing regions are Shepparton (Goulburn Valley), Cobram and Swan Hill District. These are areas have already been hit hard by COVID-19 restrictions and they are calling on Aussies in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland to enjoy the great stonefruit that’s available this autumn.

“After the struggles growers have already faced this season, they are desperate to not see further stock go to waste,” says Michael Crisera Growers Services Manager at Fruit Growers Victoria.

“There is only a matter of weeks left to save what’s left of the season and, with these stonefruits perfectly ripe through March and early April, we are urging Australians to buy and enjoy it.”

Weather has been close to ideal this season, so the fruit makes for great eating, whether simply on its own or part of a delicious recipe. While many see stonefruit as only a summer fruit, varieties such as September Sun Yellow Peach, September Snow White Peach, October Sun & Flavor Fall Plum and Arctic Snow White Nectarine are ripe in early Autumn. With an excess of stock available for Aussies, now is the perfect time to enjoy these juicy fruits.

“Stonefruit are rich in vitamins A, C & E and a great source of dietary fibre and potassium, so great to add to your everyday diet,” says Trevor Ranford, CEO of Summerfruit Australia.

“Australian stonefruit are some of the world’s best eating fruit thanks to Australia’s leading horticultural practices. We hope that Aussies will get behind our growers and support them by buying the delicious peaches, plums and nectarines that are available now.”

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