Welcome to the August/September 2021 Lychee aPeel eNewsletter, we hope you find these industry related topics of interest. The next eNewsletter will be issued in January/February 2022.

The Queensland Government has allocated $81.6 million over the three years 2021-22 to 2023-24 to provide financial support to irrigators, including funding for the Horticulture Irrigation Pricing Rebate Scheme.

A 15 per cent discount has been applied to calculate prices for all irrigation customers supplied by Sunwater and Seqwater, with a further discount of 35 per cent to be made available for horticultural growers through the Horticulture Irrigation Pricing Rebate Scheme.


Paradise Dam water shortage hits Burnett


Farmers in the Wide-Bay Burnett are voicing their concerns over vastly reduced water allocations for the Burnett coming out of Paradise Dam. Water service company SunWater announced the cuts earlier this month, with those impacted claiming the low amount of allocated water will lead to major income and crop losses.

SunWater announced on 2 July that the medium priority allocations for the Burnett sub-section of the Bundaberg water scheme, which is serviced by Paradise Dam northwest of Biggenden, stands at 22 per cent, down from the 70 per cent medium priority allocation to the region in July 2020, while high priority allocations will receive a full 100 per cent. The cuts come as a result of low water levels in the dam, caused by recent dry periods in the region as well as the aftermath of the release of 100,000 megalitres of water from the dam in late 2019 due to safety concerns.




‘Back to the Future’ – it’s time to irrigate like it’s 1999
(Paradise Dam - Marland Law Press Release July 2021)

Irrigators and business owners in the Bundaberg region fear the district will be plunged back into the economic stagnation of the 1990s and early 2000s after the formal release of the announced allocations (AA)* by Sunwater on Friday. Sunwater announced on Friday that medium allocations for the Burnett sub-scheme will be just 22% for the start of the 2021-2022 water year.
Local agribusiness lawyer, Tom Marland, is running the class action against the State Government over the mismanagement of Paradise Dam.

“This situation is like a scene from ‘Back to the Future’” said Mr Marland “Sadly, local farmers will be forced to irrigate like they did in 1999, when the AA in July was just 20%”. “Local records show that from 1995 to 2002 the AA in July were between 5 and 35%, with the exception of 1996 when the AA in July was 50%”, said Mr Marland.

“At the end of the day, Sunwater’s management of Paradise Dam has put irrigators in the Burnett sub-scheme in a perilous situation” said Mr Marland “Growers are going to experience major income losses on a 22% AA and those are the kinds of losses we will be seeking to claim in the class action”. “We can’t do much about it now other than count the costs. We are looking for some hope that the State Government will see some common sense and commit to restore the dam as quickly as possible”, said Mr Marland. 

“Until then, Bundaberg farmers will just have to keep holding their breath and wait for it to rain – which is the same situation they were in before Paradise Dam was built”, said Mr Marland.

*Announced Allocation (AA) is the amount of water that an irrigator is allowed to access from a Sunwater-managed irrigation scheme. For example, if an irrigator owns an allocation of 100 megalitres (ML), an AA of 15% means that he/she can only actually use 15 ML of that 100 ML allocation.

Australian Tree Crop Map Dashboard

The Australian Tree Crop Map Dashboard has won first place at the 2021 Esri User Conference, which is the world’s largest event dedicated to geographic information system (GIS) technology. The ATCM Dashboard was developed by Craig Shephard and Joel McKechnie, researchers from the University of New England’s Applied Agricultural Remote Sensing Centre.

Click on: Australian Tree Crop Map Dashboard

Growcom Fair Work Legislation Update 

The recent Growcom & Focus HR Fair Work Legislation Webinar recording can be viewed and heard on this link:  Fair Work Legislation Update Webinar (Friday, August 6 2021)

On completion of the Webinar, Focus HR provided the following resources:
Casual vs Permanent vs Full-time information sheet which can be downloaded here

Employee vs Contract assessment tool which can be downloaded here

A large chorus of support from Australian growers and industry bodies after news that an Ag Visa is significantly closer to reality.

Australia's peak horticulture industry bodies have welcomed the announcement of an Agriculture Visa, aimed at boosting long-term workforce numbers, which have been reducing even before the government closed the international borders at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. After years of lobbying from industry groups and the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), the Federal Government has finally committed to delivering on the visa, even though a lot of the details still have to be worked out. In making the announcement, the government admitted that regulations to enable the creation of the Australian Agriculture visa will be in place by the end of September 2021, but the operation of the visa will depend on negotiations with partner countries.


Queensland Government support Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Worker Programme (PLS/SWP)

The Queensland Government continues to strongly support the PLS/SWP initiative with a $2.6 million investment in the 2021–22 financial year. This will ensure Queensland continues to assist our agriculture sector through this initiative with a dedicated program of case managers, assessment officers and oversight of quarantine compliance.

Prior to October 2020, the Queensland Government had no direct involvement or investment in the PLS/SWP programs.

Industry Updates are being held for Approved Employers, prospective Approved Employers, labour hire, accommodation providers and community services on the PLS/SWP process, as well as other initiatives to address workforce shortages in the Queensland agricultural sector. Updates are being held in various regional areas e.g. Grantham, Bundaberg, Mareeba, Innisfail. For more information on where and when an industry update is scheduled for a regional area as well as to register for one of these updates click on this link:

Covid-19 financial support for employers

If you’re an employer, there is COVID-19 financial assistance available to you. Find the latest support relevant to your state or territory.

Visit the Australian Government website to access information on COVID-19 financial assistance and support for Australian businesses.

Lychee Industry Biosecurity Plan 2021-2016 

The review of the Lychee industry Biosecurity Plan 2021-2026 will be completed shortly. The Plan has formally been endorsed by the Lychee industry (through the Australian Lychee Growers Association [ALGA]) in August 2021, once the Plan has been endorsed by State and Territory governments a copy of the full Plan will be available on the ALGA website with an ‘extracted version’ forwarded to all lychee growers.

Oriental Fruit Fly: The removal of Oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis) from the High Propriety Pest (HPP) list was at the request of ALGA.  ALGA provided research to Plant Health Australia (PHA) from Peter Leach (DAF) that lychee with unbroken skin has non-host status for B dorsalis, similar to the non-host status Qld fruit fly, B tryoni.  

Any reference to fruit fly in lychee would involve the damage from cracks and wounds caused by other pests in which fruit flies would lay eggs. It is possible the eggs may hatch but due to the juicy nature of mature fruit the larvae rarely survive. The lychee industry uses ICA13 (unbroken skin, no pre-harvest crack, puncture or pulled stem) certification to move fruit to domestic markets in Australia which require this treatment. 

Protocol export markets for lychee have a number of requirements relating to pests, fruit fly is listed in these requirements but is just one of many other pests which are treated under the guidelines of Operational Work Plans. The USA requires irradiation treatment of 400Gys, New Zealand is 400-500Gys. The required irradiation dose for the treatment of fruit fly into quarantine export markets which accept irradiation is 150Gys.

Eradication of Varroa mite - Townsville
Current Situation – 12 August 2021

  • Varroa mite (Varroa jacobsoni) has been officially eradicated from Townsville, Queensland. The current eradication program is in response to detections of varroa mite in feral Asian honey bee nests at the Port of Townsville in May 2019 and April 2020.
  • Varroa mite is a high priority pest for Australia’s bee industry and for cropping industries that rely on bees for pollination. Australia is one of the few countries that remains free of both species of varroa mite - Varroa jacobsoni and Varroa destructor.

  • The response to the incursion was led by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, under nationally cost-shared response arrangements for emergency plant pests.  

  • The activities that occurred to achieve proof of freedom included the destruction and testing of any feral Asian honey bee nests detected, the monitoring of European honey bee hives for the presence of the mites, and extensive surveillance of the port and private and commercial sites within the Townsville local government area.

Native bees make a healthy honey no others make, and now we know why

It is not made by any other bee and is better for you, and now scientists know how native stingless bees make healthy honey. 

Key points:

  • Scientists discovered the rare healthy sugar unique to native stingless bee honey in 2020

  • The bees make it in their gut after consuming nectar high in sucrose

  • Researchers are now hoping to identify crops with high sucrose nectar to increase production

Researchers at the University of Queensland in collaboration with Queensland Health Forensic and Scientific Services have uncovered the secret of trehalulose — a sugar that is only produced by the tiny insect and does not spike blood glucose levels when eaten. Nectar sugars are largely glucose, fructose, and table sugar (sucrose), not trehalulose, so the question became "were the bees finding it or making it?"


The challenges faced by Australian exporters during the COVID-19 pandemic

Customers around the world want to continue to buy Australian fruit and vegetables, but currently, there are many challenges getting the product to them, according to the Export Council of Australia.

Hosting an export supply chain discussion panel at the Queensland Horticulture Export Congress, held in conjunction with Hort Connections, Chair Dianne Tipping explained that logistics have proven to be a challenge for many growers and exporters during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is now affecting its second winter season.

"We have great agriculture, great vegetables and great fruit - but we are challenged at the moment," she said. "We do need to remember that people want to buy our product from Australia, but it is the challenge of how do we get it to them, quickly and still fresh. We cannot afford to lose our export markets, because there is always someone ready to pounce when we don't go there and sell our product. Export is vital for Australia and our economy, and we do produce more than what we can eat. So, if we don't grow them and sell them overseas we lose jobs as well."


Freshcare in Focus

The Fresh Produce Safety Centre Releases Fact Sheet on Foreign Object Contamination

Find out about the most common types of physical contaminants on crops and produce and how growers and the wider industry have taken action to reduce physical hazards HERE.

Australian Food Cold Chain Council urges more transparency, improved training for workers.

In Australia, an industry-wide training program has been released, aimed at improving the credentials of those responsible for the integrity and safety of Australia's chilled and frozen food supply. While launched in February this year, the code was given its first public outing at Hort Connections 2021 in Brisbane in June. 

The program, the Cold Chain Professional Development Series, is in response to cold chain losses from temperature abuse which have been identified by recent national studies sponsored by the Commonwealth Government. The code has been developed by the Australian Food Cold Chain Council (AFCCC). The first of five Cold Food Codes has been released, with the first online training program of its kind for those who work at the many levels in the cold chain, in transport, distribution centres, loading docks, food industries and retail outlets.



New Zealand

Controversial change to allow irradiation treatment of imported produce. More imported fresh fruits and vegetables treated with irradiation could soon be on sale on New Zealand shelves if a rule change goes through. Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) is expected to finalise the change this month, despite the fact that 95 per cent of submissions received about it were opposed. It also acknowledged the treatment could reduce the nutritional value of produce, although it says this is minimal. But FSANZ decided irradiation was a safe and effective biosecurity tool, and will help open up export markets, bringing Australia and New Zealand into line with other countries.  


Production volume of Chinese lychee in Lingshan steadily expands. Chinese lychee production areas are concentrated in the south of the county, especially in Hainan, Guangdong, Guangxi, and Fujian. These production areas produce different varieties that enter the market at different times of the year. And there are huge differences in product quality as well. Lingshan in Guangxi is one of the most famous lychee production areas in China. The lychee from Lingshan are popular in the Chinese market and all across the globe.
Fresh Plaza article June 2021

Average daily trading volume close to 10,000 tons in Changsha fruit market. Summer is the season when all kinds of fruits flood the market. Various fruits have appeared on the Chinese market, especially seasonal fruits such as lychees, watermelons, cantaloupes, and waxberries, replacing pineapples, mangoes and other fruits to become the main driver for sales. Sales continue to rise and prices are lower compared to the same period last year.
Fresh Plaza article June 2021

Chinese lychee from Guangdong have become a ‘super fruit’ in the European and US Markets. Large volumes of lychee from Guangdong are sold near and far. They are particularly popular in Europe and the USA. According to data from the General Administration Customs China (GACC), Guangdong province exported 5,902.08 tons of lychee in 2020. 

That is an increase of 72.3% in comparison to 2019. The export value also increased, by 53.4%, to a total of 118 million yuan [18.28 million USD].

This year the Guangdong lychee export volume continue to expand. Lychee from Huizhou, Huilai, and Leiling travel the globe as orders from overseas markets come pouring in.
Fresh Plaza article June 2021

Chinese farmers earn millions from livestreaming fruit on China’s TikTok
READ MORE & Livestreaming July 2021


First sea cargo of Vietnamese lychees arrives in the Netherlands. Approximately 6 tons of fresh lychees, harvested in the Luc Ngan District, have arrived in Rotterdam Port, after a five week sea voyage. This is the first shipment by sea to the EU that was conducted by LTP Import Export B.V. (the Netherlands) through a packaging technology.
Hanoi Times article August 2021

Vietnamese lychee held up in customs, while China enjoys abundant lychee harvest. This is the time of year when Vietnam exports large volumes of lychee to China, but the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has made customs procedures more complicated. Most border ports do not allow trucks to pass through. Instead, the products spend up to several days at the customs office before they are cleared. "These procedures take much longer than regular procedures, which is not good for easily-spoiled fruit such as lychee. However, we trust that these measures will only last until the outbreak of Covid-19 is fully under control, and the delays will then be quickly resolved," said Mr. Cheng.
Fresh Plaza article June 2021

Vietnamese lychee campaign very successful. In mid-June, during the peak of the fourth Covid-19 wave, up to 100,000 tons of lychee were sold, sourced from Bac Giang Province. Bac Giang’s lychee growers have had the best harvest ever, but this is also the first time they have faced a pandemic. In early May, 28,100 hectares of Bac Giang lychees were about to be harvested when the fourth wave of Covid-19 broke out. Lychee farmers were under great pressure, having to harvest 180,000 tons of lychee within just two months.
Fresh Plaza article July 2021


New Zealand suspends imports of mango, lychee from Taiwan. Discovery of live fruit fly larvae at border prompts authorities to pause imports. New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) has suspended imports of fresh lychees and mangoes from Taiwan after authorities found live fruit fly larvae in a shipment of the fruits. MPI found the larvae in a consignment on 18 June and confirmed it as oriental fruit fly the following day. The fly has been found at the border before but never elsewhere within New Zealand. Native to Asia, oriental fruit flies lay eggs in fruit and the maggots then feed on the fruit, causing it to rot and making it unmarketable.

Radio New Zealand reported imports of lychees and mangoes from Taiwan that are vapour heat treated have been suspended while an investigation takes place. Shipments arriving at the border will be held, with the option of destroying the produce or shipping it back.

Taiwan to ask New Zealand to lift import ban on mangoes. Taipei, June 22 (CNA) Taiwan's Council of Agriculture (COA) will ask the New Zealand government to lift its import ban on Taiwanese mangoes, an official said Tuesday, arguing that a problem with fruit flies in a recent shipment from Taiwan did not affect the mangoes. 

New Zealand's Ministry for Primary Industries said it held up a shipment containing Taiwanese mangoes and lychees at its border last Friday due to a problem with live fruit fly larvae, Radio New Zealand (RNZ) reported Tuesday.


Lychee harvest at door in Sinaloa, Mexico (June 23, 2021). They expect a productive drop due to drought in the entity, CULIACÁN, Sinaloa.  The lychee harvest begins in the receivership of Eldorado, Culiacán with great uncertainty due to the small size and production drop of more than 30% due to the lack of development of the fruit due to the drought that is registered in the entity. The fleeting harvest of only two months, lasts the harvest of the 4 varieties of the exotic fruit, which is mostly sent to the markets of the United States, Canada, even Japan.

Doctor Gaspar Urquidez, producer and marketer explained that many orchards do not have an irrigation system or wells to attend to the trees, where the productive fall will be presented with greater emphasis.

He recalled that in Sinaloa there are about 250 hectares of lychee orchards, with a normal season production between 400 and 450 thousand tons, in seven municipalities Escuinapa, Concordia, Mazatlán, Mocorito, Culiacán, Guasave, mostly in Navolato and the Eldorado union, Culiacan.

"The drought in a certain way had damage of different levels in all varieties, but the cold was beneficial."

He clarified that the cuts of the fruit will be massive, in about two more weeks waiting for it to develop better. But if you despair, you cut from the first day of ripening, then you sacrifice the size, if you cut on the fourth, fifth day, then it will improve there”.

Hort Innovation

Aussie horticulture spotlights responsible farming

LIMITING FOOD WASTE, packaging, and boosting water and energy efficiency are just some of the opportunities captured in a new Australian-Grown Horticulture Sustainability Framework that has been developed with input from industry.Created with input from more than 600 industry participants, the Framework details 17 focus areas that align with existing business measures and initiatives, as well as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Hort Innovation chief executive Matt Brand said the Framework has been developed for Australian horticulture industry participants at a time when consumers and investors are increasingly asking for evidence of ethical and sustainable practices from their food producers.“The aim of this Sustainability Framework is to acknowledge the significant contribution Aussie fresh produce growers make to the nation’s families and environment through the provision of fresh and nutritious food,” he said.“It also promotes sustainable and responsible care for our natural environment and provides a vital roadmap for a stronger Australian farming future.”


Sustainability Framework

Hort Innovation has released the Australian-grown Horticulture Sustainability Framework, a guide to help the horticulture sector share its sustainable, ethical, and safe farming practice stories with stakeholders. The initiative aims to help the industry share their sustainability credentials andstories, as consumers and investors increasingly ask for evidence of ethical and sustainable practices from their food producers. This is a national project developed over more than 12 months and presents an opportunity for growers to take an active role in leading the sustainability narrative across horticulture. The framework details 17 focus areas that align with existing business measures, as well as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Each area contains its own sustainability goals and indicators to measure the progress of these goals. The framework provides data sources to help growers gather the facts and information consistent with best-practice international standards.


Hort Innovation supports young people in science and innovation

Hort Innovation is a proud partner of the 2022 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, providing a $22,000 (inc GST) grant in the horticulture category. The competitive grant program is designed to attract innovative projects that will tackle key issues in agriculture, and boost the early-career development for researchers, scientists and other innovators in the sector.Grants are available to 18–35 year-olds who are working or studying in agriculture or a related field, with a project that will contribute to the ongoing success and sustainability of Australia’s diverse and resilient primary industries.Applications for the 2022 round are now open and close at 5pm AEST Friday 1 October 2021. Click here to learn more and apply.

Women’s Leadership Development Scholarships

A limited number of scholarships are now available for women in the horticulture sector to participate in a range of leadership courses. These scholarships enable more women in the horticulture sector to access powerful and effective leadership development opportunities, and support gender equity across the sector. The funding is available to women working in both levy and non-levy paying organisations. Expressions of interest close Friday 8 October unless allocated prior. For more information click on Women's Leadership Scholarships


Seasonal overview (Living Lychee July 2021)

The Tablelands received a lot of rain in the middle of April which unsettled some lychee orchards. Second flushes emerged and the trees did not settle down nor harden-off. It’s uncertain what will happen next. 
In Far North Coastal Qld it has been a wet year so far with only a couple of mornings with cool weather getting down to 12c.

The weather in Central Qld was fairly friendly for flower initiation, with warm (for winter) spells, broken by quite cool snaps with temperatures as low as 5c.

The two previous winters in the Bundaberg region have been very dry, but this season has been kinder. 96mm’s of rain fell in June & July with a number of 5c cold snaps triggering the lychee trees into flower emergence.

Kwai Mai Pink trees in the South East Sunshine Coast area are budding up well, anything that was trying to push out a flush has turned to bud after the cold night time temperatures in June, July & August.

Regular showers in the Coffs Harbour area during winter reduced the need to irrigate, some light frosts chilled things down and there was very little late flush on the trees.

Upcoming Events

PLS/SWP Industry Update (refer to previous article and link)

  • Bundaberg 14 September 2021

  • Mareeba 5 October 2021

  • Innisfail 6 October 2021 

Growing the Agriculture Workforce Consultation

  • Atherton 12 October 2021

  • Ayr 3 November 2021

Protected Cropping Australia Conference

  • Coffs Harbour 25 – 28 October 2021

Australian Lychee Growers Association (ALGA)

An invitation to the Australian Lychee Growers Association (ALGA) grower members and associate members to attend: 

  • Annual General Meeting

  • Wednesday 15th September 2021

  • 10.30am @ Emperors Choice Lychee 302 Sippy Creek Road Ilkley Q 4554

An invitation to all ALGA grower members, associate members and all levy paying lychee growers to attend:

  • Lychee Growers Meeting

  • Wednesday 15th September 2021

  • 12.15pm @ Emperors Choice Lychee 302 Sippy Creek Road Ilkley Q 4554


Your suggestions and comments are always welcome.

Lychee aPeel has been funded by Hort Innovation, using the lychee research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.

Copyright © 2020 Australian Lychee Growers Association ALGA, All rights reserved.


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