Apple juice imports leave sour taste for growers

Australian juicing apple prices drop by 300 per cent. Grocery duopoly is blamed.

ABC Rural
Laurissa Smith and Cairns News
Imports blamed for drop in fruit prices
Photo: Southern NSW apple grower Barney Hyams says blemished fruit has dropped in value because of a steady
increase in imported Chinese apple juice concentrate. (Laurissa Smith)

Audio: Imported apple juice raises concerns (ABC Rural)

Horticulture groups from NSW and Victoria will meet this week to assess the financial impact of Chinese apple juice concentrate on the local industry.

Around 36,000 tonnes of concentrate was imported from China last year, which ends up in some Australian apple juice and cider products.

Riverina apple grower Barney Hyams believes imports have hurt prices they’re getting for their fruit.

“I’ve been in this business for about 30 years now and the product that doesn’t make it onto supermarket shelves because its blemished, was worth somewhere between $400 to $500 a tonne.

“We’ve seen that product de-valued to $18 a tonne.

“What has changed is the importation of Chinese apple juice concentrate and the cost of reconstituting compared to the cost of the Australian product is far less.

“It’s obviously impacting on our market”

Meanwhile horticulture industry sources today attacked Woolworths and Coles for importing the majority of Chinese juice coming into Australia.

“These out of control monopolies have screwed every fruit grower in the country, just as they have done to every farmer and livestock producer,” said one of North Queensland’s larger fruit growers.

“Those of us left in the industry don’t expect any help from the new federal government, in fact we believe neither the ALP or Liberals want any family farms to remain.

:”Their free trade laws have killed us.”