Queensland science leads to export breakthrough

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries researchers have pioneered work on pest treatment which has opened up the lucrative Chinese market for our nectarine growers.

Their development of a low dose treatment for Queensland fruit fly has created a new market for nectarines and there are hopes that producers of other fruits and vegetables will also benefit.

Agriculture Minister Leanne Donaldson has praised the ingenuity and said “This is a major breakthrough for Queensland growers and exporters and it is thanks to the excellence of our scientists”.

“China is Australia’s largest agricultural export market, with total exports in 2015 worth almost $11 billion.”

The Minister said Australia had been working with China for many years to gain market access for summer fruit.

“Now, thanks to the excellent research from our scientists, we can send our nectarines which previously could not be exported until China completed its risk analysis.”

They worked constantly for six month on nectarines and peaches to finalise trials and produce reports before the fruit finished each season. During this period they handled over 16,500 pieces of fruit multiple times, processing them through the various experimental procedures required. It was certainly worth the effort. After undergoing low-dose methyl bromide fumigation, Australian nectarines can now be sent to China by both air and sea freight.

This is the first international protocol negotiated using the low-dose methyl bromide method. DAF is now working to develop similar low-dose protocols for capsicum, mango, table grapes, strawberry, apple, pear and pumpkins.

Combined with upcoming tariff reductions under the the China–Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), export opportunities for our growers are significant.