Growcom, Media Release, 15 March 15 2021
Consumers are being warned of inferior fruit due to arrive for the first time from Taiwan.
Growcom, the peak industry body representing the Australian pineapple industry, has today voiced concerns about reports that six tonnes of fresh pineapple are to be imported into Australia from Taiwan in May.
“Australian consumers expect the highest standards of their fresh fruits and vegetables. That they’re delivered fresh to the grocery aisle or the food service sector, and are grown under safe and sustainable conditions,” said Richard Shannon, Manager of Policy and Advocacy at Growcom.
“Until now consumers could be extremely confident their fresh, whole pineapples were clean and green, because they’re all grown here in Australia.
“Choosing Australian grown pineapples isn’t just about buying a superior product, but also about supporting our farmers and keeping jobs in regional Australia.”
Industry also has raised concerns about reports the planned import of fresh pineapples into Australia is coming as a result of the Taiwanese recently losing access to China, their largest market.
“We understand it would be heartbreaking for Taiwanese growers to now have nowhere to send their fruit. Disruptions to trade caused by COVID-19 and changes in position taken by China continues to also hurt many Australian agriculture exporters,” said Mr Shannon.
“But this shouldn’t make Australia the market of last resort. We expect the Australian Government keeps an eye on whether this trade remains fair and legal under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.”
Industry is also again flagging concerns raised during the recent import risk review concluded by the Australian Government, around whether biosecurity risks that come with importing fresh pineapples from Taiwan can be adequately managed.
“The risk review and the measures put in place are fine in theory. Growers however keep seeing pests and diseases enter Australia for which risk mitigation measures are already in place,” said Mr Shannon.
“We want more inspections of fresh produce arriving in Australia, not just pineapples from Taiwan but across the board.
“So we are calling on the Australian Government to urgently review its position on a biosecurity levy on containerized cargo coming into the country. It makes perfect sense. Those creating risks to both the natural environment and agriculture should be pulling their weight.”