As the harvest season for Australia’s navel oranges begins, the Philippines is being eyed by the Oceanian country as a rising market for citrus exports.

“The value of Australia’s fruit exports to the Philippines has grown from A$500,000 in 2010 to more than A$22 million in 2016,” says Dianne Phan, head of trade for Hort Innovation Australia. Phan attributes this growth to improvements in importation protocol and strong relations with local trade partners. 

“The Philippines is one of Australia’s longest-standing bilateral relationships. Australia’s trade relationship with the Philippines is supported by the ASEAN Australia New Zealand Free Trade Agreement. It means Australian citrus are entitled to zero tariffs in the Philippines, which is a big win for the Philippines market.”

Alongside growing exports runs Taste Australia, a campaign aimed at promoting Australian produce to the Philippines. A collaboration between Hort Innovation, Austrade, and the Government of Victoria, Taste Australia’s second year focuses on consumer promotions such as retail sampling, partnerships, and event launches.

Climate and geography also play a role in the rising citrus market. Taking advantage of the reversed seasons of the southern hemisphere, Australia has become a prime counterseasonal supplier for temperate fruits such as citrus, table grapes, and summer fruits.

“The Philippines has become an emerging market for Australian horticulture exporters and will continue to be a key export destination for Australian fresh produce,” says Dianne Phan.

About 5,000 tons of Australian navel oranges are exported annually to the Philippines, and Phan expects that number to grow. “With changing consumption behavior and increasing awareness of imported fruits, Filipinos are more and more familiar with Australia’s seasonal offerings. Australia growers are guided by market research and each country’s tasting profile to grow the best fit for that market, which is big and sweet navel oranges for the Philippines.”

Other Australian citrus varieties have also started penetrating the Philippine market as Mandarin exports to the country have grown by 38 percent while lemon and lime exports have increased by eight percent.

Australia’s current fortune with its exports comes during a troubled season for the global orange market. According to Fresh Plaza, numerous markets across the globe have seen lower crop yields and prices. Poor weather and diseases have plagued the citrus-growing regions of Italy, Spain, and Argentina. Conversely, Australia has seen quality yields in what has been said to be its best season in seven years, with global exports up by 16 percent or an equivalent of 190,043 tons of oranges.

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