Morrison Government helps cherries ripe for the picking

  • Joint media release with:
  • Bridget Archer MP, Member for Bass
  • Gavin Pearce MP, Member for Braddon
10 March 2022

The Morrison Government is supporting jobs, farmers and businesses in the Tasmanian cherry industry.

Across Tasmania, 4000 people work in the state’s cherry harvest each season, with around $70 million worth of cherries picked, graded and packed in just seven weeks.

The Morrison Government’s International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) has helped one of Australia’s leading producers Reid Fruits to reach its international customers, supporting Tasmanian jobs and businesses in the process. Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan said IFAM had helped ensure business were able to maintain supply to their hard-won overseas customers.

“IFAM is a temporary, targeted, emergency support measure put in place by the Australian Government to keep global air links open in response to the ongoing effects of the pandemic. Since April 2020, IFAM has reconnected Australian businesses back into 61 international destinations,” Mr Tehan said.

“Despite the challenges of COVID-19 approximately 175 million Tasmanian cherries are expected to be exported customers around the world this year.” Member for Bass Bridget Archer said IFAM was just one program that had helped support Tasmania through the COVID pandemic.

“This program allows our farmers, fishers and food producers to sell into key international markets. Tasmanian cherries are world famous for their high quality at affordable prices, and despite the uncertainty of the pandemic our cherries are in strong demand right across the world,” Ms Archer said.

Member for Braddon Gavin Pearce said it was great to see such a strong harvest in cherries this year.

“Thanks to the support of the Morrison Government, we have been able to have a really strong harvest this season. This means more jobs for Tasmanians and more investment coming into our community.”

Faced with multiple freight challenges over the summer, Reid Fruits was able to remain agile and adjust its transportation methods to continue to get its fruit to overseas markets.

Reid Fruits Marketing and Sales Manager Tony Coad said after an important air freight service from Hobart to Hong Kong was cancelled at the start of the season, the business was able to find alternate methods to get product abroad.

“Every cherry season throws up its challenges, you’ve just got to manage it day-by-day,” Mr Coad said.

“This season our plans for freight certainly became complicated, but we were able to reset and work our way through it. We were able to organise more fruit out of Sydney and access some additional space out of Melbourne too.

“It’s been a busy period – but we’re starting to come up for air a little bit now. Overall, it’s still been a good season.” Mr Coad said the rising cost of airfreight had made exporting a challenging task in the past two seasons and was thankful for the assistance provided by IFAM.

“With the significant increase in the cost of airfreight due to the pandemic, IFAM has been a great assistance to us being able to maintain our presence in key markets,” Mr Coad said.

“This season, despite the challenges, the demand overseas was very strong. We’ve had another good crop with similar volume to last season, better size and excellent quality.”

For more information on the International Freight Assistance Mechanism, visit International Freight Assistance Mechanism - Austrade

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