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Australia: New citrus treatment to lift export quality

A breakthrough in treatment of citrus fruit destined for the important Japanese market should help lift income for Riverina, NSW, growers. The Japanese market is classed as one of the major destinations for fruit grown in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA).

Riverina Citrus executive officer, Peter Morrish, said initially it was believed that fruit needed to be chilled to lower temperatures, to kill any potential fruit fly. However, Mr Morrish says the temperatures can now be raised slowly, applying results from $1.3 million of industry funded research into fruit treatment last year.

He says the lift in temperature means there is less damage to the fruit and it reaches the market in better condition. “This should ensure better returns to growers,” he says.

Meanwhile, he says the drought is having an increasing impact on the orange trees in the MIA. “There is still a positive feeling, though,” he says. `This is because of good quality fruit currently being harvested - the quality of navels is excellent.”

Mr Morrish says the Japanese market accepts Washington Navels, Valencias, and Mandarin varieties.

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