Home' Grower : November 2013 Contents 24 The South Australian Grower -- November 2013
Blueberry trends up, strawberry sober
By ASHLEY WALMSLEY
IT was enough for growers in
the room to ask for the name to
be repeated: what exactly is a
International guest speaker Prof
Adam Dale, University of Guelph,
Canada, dropped the name while
addressing the audience at the
2013 BerryQuest held in the
Victorian Foothills recent.
BerryQuest is the combined
conference of Raspberries
and Blackberries Australia,
Strawberries Australia and the
Australian Blueberry Growers'
In his first of three talks during
the three-day conference, Prof
Dale spoke on global trends in
berry crops and future forecasts
for the industry. He delivered
good news for blueberry growers.
"When is the blueberry glut
happen? Well, it's nowhere in
sight. Production is going up and
consumption is going up," he
But he painted a more sobering
picture for strawberry growers,
highlighting the general global
glut the world experiences with
nearly every agricultural nation
growing the popular fruit.
"The price of strawberries is
dropping. We're certainly facing
a glut in north America," he said.
While the US continues to be
the "official" largest producer
of strawberries, Prof Dale said
China was always expanding.
He said getting accurate
statistics on Chinese production
was difficult, making it unclear
exactly how big the country's
He estimated China had
about 59,491 hectares under
production, four times Florida's
production area. But it was
the mention of the beachberry
which really pricked the ears of
Prof Dale said the beachberry
was the proposed marketing
name for the white crowberry
(Camarinhas), which in sand
dunes and cliffs along the coast
He said it was an example
of a new product that could
be capitalised on due to its
distinctive white colour and high
Guest speaker at BerryQuest 2013 in Victoria, Prof Adam Dale,
University of Guelph, Canada, sees potential for berries across the
FTA figures fail
FOR years now, I have been read-
ing stories about the benefits we
as a country can derive from free
The only trouble I am having is that
in my 70 years on this earth, I find it
difficult to recognise these benefits.
I realise these decisions are made by
the more learned people who run our
country and plan our future develop-
ment, but have they lost the plot?
How can we have a successful
free trade agreement with countries
that pay low wages, have diseased
produce, do not accept the proper
use of pesticides and pesticide resi-
dues, consider us a great dumping
ground, destroy animal habitats and
have the added cost of transport and
Years ago, Australia had a very suc-
cessful car manufacturing program.
Every Australian wanted to be the
owner of a Holden or even a Ford.
During the Whitlam era, the govern-
ment decided that we should lower
tariffs to encourage more trade. This
one decision destroyed our motor car
manufacturing industry, the lives of
thousands of workers and the many
industries that fed into the car business.
We did the same thing with
our white goods manufactur-
ers, and consequences were
We live in one of the best
countries in the world. We
are self-sufficient, have a high
standard of living and a very
clean and unpolluted climate. Why
are we trying to stop all this by
dismantling successful industries all
in the name of progress?
Food security is one of our top pri-
orities for survival but we are doing
everything possible to destroy this
aspect of our lives and future. Our
politicians know we are self-sufficient
in horticulture yet they are hell bent
on free trade agreements. It seems
to me that this type of thinking is
destroying our local markets, chal-
lenging our high rate of biosecurity
and putting our citizens' health in
I wonder what our premier said
when he found out that McCain
was closing down its Penola potato
processing plant? Does he realise
the impact this will have on the
local community and the state?
Almost 60 families will lose their
source of income, local growers
who have set up their proper-
ties to grow potatoes for this
market will be out in the cold,
local chemical and machinery
dealers will pay the price and
the domino effect will roll right
though the community.
How many more businesses
need to close down in the name
of progress before we have to
close shop and most likely sell
off all our agricultural land to
In 2011-12, we exported $184
million of fresh vegetables, and
$22m of this was potatoes. We
exported $86m worth of frozen
or processed vegetables and
$19m of this was potatoes.
On the other side of the
ledger in the same period we
imported $118m worth of fresh
vegetables. There have been no
fresh potato imports since 1988.
At the same time we imported
$678m of frozen or processed
vegetables and $136m of this
These figures don't really add
up, do they?
Potato production accounts
for 20 per cent of all the veg-
etable production in Australia
and South Australia was the
largest producing state, with
about 360,000 tonnes. McCain
claims that in the past decade,
processed potato imports have
jumped from10,000t to more
We have had many crop
processing companies close
their doors and move overseas
recently and many of them
were just as important to our
culture as the Holden car. SPC
at Shepparton has been around
as long as I have and yet they
have had to advise growers that
the end is near.
Is this what free trade agree-
ments are, where we have to
spend our disposable dollars
on imported products and our
politicians stand around and
watch our food security being
dismantled? What in the hell
do these people do? They have
failed with two of our most
important needs for future sur-
vival -- food and water security.
I am hungry, but can be con-
tacted on wsparrow@internode.
on.net or 0419 591 894.
Free trade agreements only seem to be destroying local markets, challenging biosecurity and putting
citizens' health in danger.
with WALLY SPARROW
Food security is one
of our top priorities
for survival but we
are doing everything
possible to destroy
this aspect of our
lives and future
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