POSITIVITY IN NEW YEAR: Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Allan Mahoney says new markets are opening up for avo farmers. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail
POSITIVITY IN NEW YEAR: Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Allan Mahoney says new markets are opening up for avo farmers. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail Max Fleet BUN170215BLU2

Exports to increase in what's shaping up to be a top 2019

THE outlook for many Bundaberg region fruit growers in 2019 looks positive.

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers chairman Allan Mahoney said increasing exports was a key opportunity for the year.

His comments come as Rural Bank yesterday said it expected moderate growth in the fruit price index for the first half of the year as part of its 2019 outlook for the Australian agriculture sector.

Rural Bank said domestic fruit consumption was growing, which coupled with increasing export exposure, was likely to create more demand for fruit.

It's expected to have a positive impact on prices for Bundy's growers.

Mr Mahoney said the signs were promising after a number of positives last year.

"Exports (in) 2018 have been helped by new protocols for avocados," he said.

"New markets are opening up for them which is great news.

"The area still has some challenges with mainstream commodities to most of Asia though due to fruit fly and nematode issues which we are working on."

For this year he said all the signs were there for growers to explore overseas markets as they gained greater access.

"Work continues in this area but looks positive," Mr Mahoney said.

He said sweet potato volumes continued to rise from the Wide Bay which was extremely positive and citrus from Gayndah and Mundubbera was similarly going well.

One crop that remains in high demand is macadamias.

"Hugely popular and we don't seem to find the boundaries with this crop," he said.

He said there was a strong market and appetite for Australian produced product.

According to the Australian Macadamia Society, Bundaberg was the largest producer of macadamia nuts in 2018 - producing 41 per cent of Australia's macadamia nuts.

Northern Rivers in New South Wales was the next biggest producer.