Professor Luca Corelli Grappadelli of University of Bologna visits Fruit Growers Tasmania to discuss state's fruit exports

15 February

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A distinguished international professor of tree physiology holds up a box of Reid Fruits cherries, marvelling at its laser-cut counterfeit-combating sticker. 

Luca Corelli Grappadelli, from the University of Bologna, visited Fruit Growers Tasmania in Hobart to discuss global fruit export markets.

He described Reid Fruits’ packaging as an example of “innovation”. 

Because of the unique quick response code tethered to each box of fruit, Chinese buyers can identify whether or not the product they have purchased is authentic.

Counterfeit Reid Fruits products had appeared in China before growers had even reached the end of harvest.

“It’s a very high-tech approach,” Professor Corelli Grappadelli said.

As a young man, Professor Corelli Grappadelli received a Fulbright Scholarship to study at Clemson University in South Carolina.

Right now, he is working with researchers in Melbourne to develop new pear varieties geared toward Asian markets.

“It’s a very simple experiment, but it’s probably the most heavily-instrumented experiment that I’ve run in my career,” Professor Corelli Grappadelli said.

Of course, China is not the only Asian export market that is lucrative for Tasmanian fruit growers.

“China’s a great market, but we need to focus also on Japan and Korea as emerging markets,” FGT business development manager Phil Pyke said.

He explained to the professor the nature of Tasmanian fruit exports, and how globalisation had benefited the state’s formerly isolated growers.

“Once upon a time, people would take the export produce to the wharf, sign it over to an agent, then it gets on the ship and off it goes,” Mr Pyke said.

“But now you’ve got people like Tim Reid [Reid Fruits managing director] who goes from planting that tree in the ground all the way to talking to the end seller in China or Korea or wherever. 

​“We’ve got global farmers now.”

Mr Pyke also said the internet had increased farmers’ export potential.

Online selling, he said, enabled “old farmer Bloggs” to learn about, and expand into, new markets. 

Professor Corelli Grappadelli said Tasmania had enchanted him.

He equated the state’s fruit growing conditions with the Italian Alps in terms of its fruit growing conditions.

“[This] isn’t a bad thing because our alpine apple production is number one in Europe for sure, and for quality maybe better than Washington State and British Columbia,” Professor Corelli Grappadelli said.

Source: The Advocate

http://www.theadvocate.com.au/story/4469529/visiting-professors-export-perspective/

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