Home' Grower : September 2012 Contents The South Australian Grower -- September 2012
THE SA Citrus Board has submitted its latest response
to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
requesting that the Government reconsider its
recommendation to remove export regulation powers
which maintain single importer arrangements into the
US. In its submission, the Board has argued that the
loss of export efficiency powers will increase
distribution in efficiencies and create new negative
competition among Australian exporters. Ultimately, it is
likely there could be a discounting war not only with
other overseas countries but among Australian
suppliers to gain market share. The Board has received
a number of calls from family farms concerned that the
current premium Australian Citrus enjoys in this market
will be lost and growers ultimately bear any price
collapse. The Board has cautioned DAFF on any change
and requested greater consultation with growers who
are likely to be affected.
Citrus fund reform in spotlight
Feedback is sought on proposed reforms to the Citrus
Growers Fund, following the appointment of a new
committee to represent the South Australian citrus
industry. The South Australian Regional Advisory
Committee will be supported by the Citrus Growers
Fund under the Primary Industries Funding Scheme
1998. SARAC was established as the regional arm of
Citrus Australia Limited. The committee will now have
an opportunity to comment on the Citrus Growers
Fund. PIRSA met with citrus packers and processors in
the Riverland last month to discuss the planned
changes and transition arrangements.
Master Grocers raps duopoly
A new report by Master Grocers Australia has accused
supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths of
deliberately killing off their smaller competitors. It says
Coles and Woolworths are saturating the market and
opening oversized supermarkets to squeeze out local
competition. In Australia, about $8 of every $10 spent
on groceries ends up in the tills at Coles or
Woolworths. Master Grocers Australia, which
represents players such as Foodworks and IGA, says
the scenario of large retail chains pushing the smaller
players out of the market is being repeated across
Australia. In its report, Master Grocers Australia says
opening oversized and unprofitable supermarkets is a
deliberate strategy from the duopoly to wipe-out
competition. The report is calling for the Federal
Government and the ACCC to overhaul competition and
planning laws. The Federal Opposition believes there is
merit in the report and says it sharpens the case for a
review of competition laws.
Drive through at Woolworths
Woolworths has launched the country's first drive-thru
supermarket, allowing customers to come along and
collect their groceries without even having to step out
of the car. The 'click & collect drive-thru' service is at
Woolworths Warringah Mall in Sydney and is free to
use. Woolworths' online shoppers can now complete
their order online, select drive-thru option, and choose
a time between 10am and 7pm to collect their
groceries. Woolworths national online operations
manager Brian Sturrock said that since the launch of
its 'click & collect' service, the company has received a
large amount of customer feedback asking about a
Saturday, 4pm -- peak hour
Supermarket peak-hour in South Australia is 4pm on
Saturday, when up to eight times more people shop
than earlier in the day, new data shows. Early risers
who shop early in the week encounter empty aisles,
while evening shoppers on Thursday, Friday and
Saturday have to deal with the hordes. The three
busiest hourly timeslots are Saturdays from 4pm-5pm,
then noon-1pm, followed by 11am to noon. Many
shoppers are now choosing to skip the checkout
queues altogether. The Australian and New Zealand
Online Shopping Report suggests online shopping sales
will increase 17.9 per cent to $16 billion. By 2016, it is
expected to reach $26.9b. It is anticipated food,
groceries and alcohol will experience a big increase in
such internet sites.
Citrus stays committed
By working out ways to provide stronger representation and better services for growers,
the newly formed South Australian Regional Advisory Committee is determined to give
the industry a fresh start. LIZ COTTON reports.
THE new era of representation for
the South Australian citrus
industr y will help it move for ward
with renewed confidence, says former
chairman of the South Australian Citrus
Industry Transition Working Party Neil
"I am optimistic that the SA Regional
Advisory Committee will be just what the
citrus industry in South Australia needs --
after all, we could not continue along the
same lines and growers indicated their
support for a new body after so many
withdrew their levy contributions," he
The SA Citrus Industry Transition
Working Party Review identified the need
for one strong industry body at the State
level, with the ability to contribute to and
benefit from national citrus industry
Mr Andrew says that by
comprehensively engaging with growers
and members of the citrus supply chain,
and strongly liaising with Citrus Australia,
SARAC will be able to provide stronger
representation and better ser vices for
"There is a lot of enthusiasm from
Citr us Australia in making SARAC
work," he said.
"The new committee str ucture also
mirrors what other states are doing,
particularly New South Wales and to
some degree Queensland, and brings SA
more in line with those states."
Additionally, the committee will be
saving growers money by lessening the
levy contribution that formerly stood at
about $3 tonne of fruit produced,
collected by the two former groups.
Mr Andrew said the Transition
Working Party signalled a singleness of
purpose, with representatives from both
the Citrus Industry Development Board
and the Citrus Growers of South
Australia putting their past differences
aside to work together to form the new
"There was widespread, unanimous
agreement that we had to do something
different, we could not continue down
the same path as before. There was a
strong desire to obtain a better working
relationship with Citrus Australia," he
Mr Andrew says the major challenge for
the citrus industry going for ward is the
high Australian dollar.
"I was talking to one of the major
exporters and growers and he said that
the high dollar is costing him more
money than he was paying for leasing
water during the height of the drought,"
Despite this, he remains positive the
new representation can benefit growers
through offering some advice about
emerging and in-demand varieties, as well
as emerging and niche markets.
"The Washington Navel market over
the last 15 years illustrates this perfectly;
it has been the backbone for many
producers," he said.
"Other options may be easy-peel
mandarins or other varieties that growers
can plant to tap into lucrative, niche and
emerging markets through effective
international marketing campaigns."
Mr Andrew says more cooperation
among packing houses, with a view to
rationalising packaging facilities, will
minimise costs for growers and enhance
Riverland citrus grower Barry Arnold
said ensuring the future for Australian
citr us on the export market was
paramount, and that the new South
Australian Regional Advisory Committee
was a step in the right direction.
Mr Arnold hopes all Australian citrus
growers can unitedly look towards a
brighter future for the industry.
"On the world exports scale, Australia
is a relatively small player," Mr Arnold
"So while we might think citrus makes
up a big part of horticultural produce, we
need to band together as one industry for
the sake of our important export
Levy contributions reduced
Mirrors work in other states
Dollar poses major export challenge
There is a lot of
enthusiasm in making
-- NEIL ANDREW
RIVERLAND citrus and winegrape
grower Ron Radomi would like to see a
representative body that solely represent-
ed growers, not packers and others
involved in the supply chain.
He runs 2.85 hectares of citrus and
9.3ha of winegrapes at Loxton.
"Government has said they want to deal
with just one peak body, but I don't think
this new group (SA Regional Advisor y
Committee) will change anything," he
Ron has worked in the industry for
more than 40 years and says times have
never been tougher.
"Our marketplace is really controlled by
the big three -- Woolworths, Coles and
Aldi," he said.
"This year has been a disaster as far as
exports go, with the strong $A."
Ron said he and his wife were lucky to
be picking their fruit while some others in
the district were not even bothering to do
that this year because of the low returns.
He knows growers who are using their
fruit as cattle feed.
"Our other major problem in this area is
that there's no major juice outlet apart
from Nippy's and they've got growers
contracted for the long-term and paying
them accordingly," he said.
"If you don't have a contract with
Nippy's, there're not many options.
"Even with the water buy-back scheme
-- which has seen citrus production come
back by 20 to 30 per cent -- our returns
haven't increased, if anything they're
Ron says representative bodies need to
be run by growers for growers.
"If peak bodies aren't made up solely of
growers, they can't represent properly
and will always be fragmented," he said.
Ron says the citrus industry needs a
broader marketing focus.
'Times have never been tougher'
Riverland citrus grower Ron Radomi feels lucky to be picking fruit -- he knows of others
using it as cattle feed.
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