Peaching for the stars: stone fruit export season underway

29 October 2021

One of Australia’s leading stone fruit producers is set for a peachy summer, sending its first load of juicy product for the export season to Malaysia this week.

Victorian-based LPG Cutri Fruit Global sent eight tonnes of premium peaches and nectarines on a flight from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur today (October 29), maintaining important airfreight connectivity with the help from the Australian Government’s International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM).  

LPG Cutri Fruit Global, Executive General Manager Frank Frappa said IFAM had allowed the business to remain connected with its international markets despite challenges caused by COVID-induced border restrictions.

“The team at IFAM have been fantastic – they listen, they understand and have done a great job in helping us navigate our way through the challenges that COVID has caused,” Mr Frappa said.  

“Without the support it would have really impacted our business and the wider stone fruit industry. The program has been really well put together.”

IFAM is a temporary, targeted emergency support measure put in place to keep global air links open in response to the ongoing effects of the pandemic.


Program extended

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan said the IFAM program, which has recently been extended to mid-2022, has provided businesses time to adjust operations in response to the difficulties brought on COVID-19 border restrictions.

“IFAM was introduced to give Australian businesses reliant on airfreight extra time to adapt to the new international trade environment,” Minister Tehan said.

“Since April 2020, IFAM has reconnected nine Australian ports to 58 international destinations and helped the movement of high-value perishable Australian products to international customers and the import of products critical to our pandemic response.”


Looking to the future

LPG Cutri Fruit Global sources its fruit from its own orchards in Swan Hill, as well other growers in the Swan Hill, Shepparton and Cobram regions.  

The business traditionally exports to customers in China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Middle East and Canada each season.

Mr Frappa said premium Australian stone fruit was still held in high regard overseas, with the business also trialling a series of innovative methods to ensure their product continues to get to market.

“Traditionally we export about 60 per cent of our product overseas and 40 per cent domestically but since the pandemic hit, those figures have switched around,” he said.

“We’re continuing to try different packaging formats and different ways of trying to get some success in that export sector.

“We’ve done trials by sending fruit as far as Canada and the Middle East via sea freight to try and find ways to keep getting our fruit overseas because we know IFAM is not going to be around forever.

“Being one of Australia’s largest stone fruit growers, we remain focused on innovation and producing consistent, reliable varieties that embody great taste, texture, and shelf life.”