Australian Citrus Congress

Highlights of the Australian Citrus Congress

Daniel Cooper Events, International

Australian Citrus Congress

The inaugural Australian Citrus Congress was held March 5–7 at the Novotel Sunshine Coast Resort. The event drew more than 400 attendees for a conference, trade show, gala dinner and biosecurity symposium.

Organized by Citrus Australia, highlights of the event included the following:

  • Agricultural finance expert Patrick Vizzone said the Australian dollar is likely to strengthen against the U.S. dollar and the Chinese yuan over 2025 and 2026, resulting in greater price competition and lower imported input costs for Australian suppliers. Vizzone added that higher incomes would continue to drive increased demand for premium food products in key Asian markets, including China.
  • Food and nutrition scientist Emma Beckett of FOODiQ Global suggested a new narrative is required for communicating citrus health benefits. That narrative moves beyond the notion of oranges and mandarins being good sources of Vitamin C. Beckett proposed a new paradigm that highlights citrus’ systemic health benefits, positioning the category as an “affordable superfood” that’s accessible and nutrient rich.
  • David Daniels, Citrus Australia’s General Manager – Market Development, led a presentation on the long-term viability and volatility of the industry’s export markets.
  • The Port of Melbourne’s Marion Kloos examined global forces influencing shipping patterns and what they mean for Australian suppliers. Kloos noted a trend toward consolidated services out of the Port of Melbourne, along with a move toward larger vessels.
  • Attendees heard about the impact HLB disease has had on the global orange juice market.
  • Grove Juice Managing Director Greg Quinn discussed some newfound opportunities for Australian growers and juice producers.
  • Breakout sessions focused on production, varieties, technology and postharvest/packaging.
  • More than 25 companies showcased their products and services.
  • Outstanding achievements and contributions of Australian citrus industry members were recognized through the presentation of Citrus Australia’s annual awards. The Hall of Fame Award went to retired Queensland grower Nick Ulcoq, as well as husband-and-wife Greg and Sue Chislett of Chislett Farms. Malcolm Smith of the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF) won the Service to Industry Award for his citrus breeding work. Allen Jenkin of Ironbark Citrus was presented the Value Chain Innovator Award. Ben Knispel of Nippy’s Waikerie Producers won the Emerging Leader Award.
  • More than 70 delegates took part in a pre-event tour of the Bundaberg region, which included stops at QDAF’S Bundaberg Research Facility, Carter & Spencer’s Spencer Ranch citrus orchard and Nutrano’s Abbotsleigh Farm.
  • At the Biosecurity Symposium, more than 170 delegates heard from researchers and plant health experts who discussed the risks that exotic pests and diseases pose to the Australian citrus business. The event had a core focus on HLB disease, along with its vector the Asian citrus psyllid.

“Businesses across the supply chain had the opportunity to learn something new or make a connection that will change the way they operate,” Citrus Australia Chief Executive Officer Nathan Hancock said of the Australian Citrus Congress.

Source: Citrus Australia

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