A SPIKE in table grape imports has saturated Australia’s domestic market, according to Robinvale company Cordoma International.
Director and export manager Mario Cordoma said the shift by the United States from using methyl bromide fumigation to cold sterilisation means US producers can export fruit to Australia more freely.
“Last year, as soon as (US growers) started their harvest – which they commence about the first week of June – they started to export them (to Australia),” he said.
“So, there was an abundance of local grapes still here in cold storage,” Mr Cordoma said.
US growers originally introduced methyl bromide to combat pest issues, but the chemical significantly reduced the fruit’s shelf life, limiting its export potential.
In replacing the method with cold sterilisation, US exporters were able to keep grapes in cold storage in the US for a week before shipping them out.
With the influx of US grapes affecting an already limited domestic market, some local growers have been left searching for new opportunities.
Cordoma International now exports roughly 80 per cent of its produce, predominantly to Asia, as overseas demand for Australian grapes increases.