New lychees a big deal for farmers
BUNDABERG farmers are thrilled they could soon have access to lychee varieties from Taiwan as part of a Memorandum of Understanding agreed to by the Queensland and Taiwanese governments.
The agreement was signed by Queensland Government officials in the presence of representatives of the Australian Lychee Growers Association on last week’s mission to Taiwan.
This week, Bundaberg played host to a delegation of Taiwanese food buyers.
“It’s fantastic to have it come to the area and it’s great to see trade between Taiwan and Bundaberg,” Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers chair Allan Mahoney said.
Craig Van Rooyen, who grows lychees at his South Bingera Farm, said he was looking forward to testing out new varieties.
Bundaberg MP and Agriculture Minister Leanne Donaldson said the investment would open the door to joint research projects with Taiwan.
“The benefit for our lychee growers is the expected increase in export market share and access to new varieties and markets in the longer term,” she said.
“The Taiwanese have been attracted to Queensland because it has the opposite season to northern hemisphere production.
“Six specially developed varieties will be made available to Queensland farmers for testing in their orchards in the north and south of the state.
“If they do well in Queensland conditions, Australian growers and Taiwan could then consider a joint project to export to other Asian countries as well as supplying the Australian market.”
The first step is to import several hundred lychee trees, which will be placed in a secure Australian Government biosecurity facility in Victoria for up to a year before being moved to a nursery in Queensland for planting on local farms.
One of the varieties Taiwan will send is the rose red, a large lychee that is easier to peel, with a rose fragrance and better shelf life. Varieties with smaller seeds will also be in the mix.
There are currently only four varieties of lychee in Australia.