Territory Stories

Budget Paper No5 Northern Territory Economy 1998/99



Budget Paper No5 Northern Territory Economy 1998/99

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Tabled Paper 382


Tabled papers for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT




Tabled by Michael Reed


Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.




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Association (NTHA) and the Northern Territory Mango Growers Association. The weighted average wholesale price was firm at around $22.50 a tray. The total 1997 mango crop was valued at around $26 million, an increase of 34% compared with $19.4 million in 1996. Exports of mangoes (a small but growing part of the market) were up from 46 tonnes in 1996 to 285 tonnes during 1997. Most exports went to Hong Kong, Singapore, France, Japan and Malaysia. Some 1 800 tonnes of table grapes (from the Ti-Tree region) were produced in 1997, an increase of 35.7% compared with 1996 production of 1 326 tonnes. The value of the table grape crop in 1997 increased by 27% from $6.4 million in 1996, to around $8.1 million in 1997. Most of the table grape crop was sold at interstate markets, although a small quantity of the crop was exported via Sydney markets (estimates of overseas exports are unavailable). Banana production rose from 3 768 tonnes in 1996 to 4 107 tonnes in 1997, an increase of 8%. Due to better prices received during the year, the overall value of the crop improved to $7.2 million, an increase of 68% compared to the 1996 value of $4.3 million. The value of vegetable production in 1997 is estimated at $4.6 million, an increase of 5% from $4.4 million in 1996. The majority of the increase was in Asian vegetables; especially snake beans, bitter melons, gourds (or long melons) and luffas. HORTICULTURE OUTLOOK Horticultural production has increased and diversified markedly in recent years, illustrating a progressive realisation of the industrys potential. The Territorys distinct cl imate allows it to enjoy certain comparative advantages, notably the capacity to supply early season and out of season produce such as table grapes; mangoes; dates; melons; asparagus; cucurbit crops and Asian vegetables for the southern and overseas markets. In recognition of the demand from these diversified markets, areas planted to fruit trees and grape vines are steadily increasing. A 1997 survey of grape vines and perennial fruit trees in the Territory showed that the total number of trees had increased by 108% since 1992. The largest increases in plantings were in mangoes, bananas, citrus and table grapes. Prospects for increased production in these areas therefore is particularly promising. The Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries (DPIF), in conjunction with the NTHA, continues to examine alternative markets (including mango exports to overseas markets and mango downstream processing) to lessen reliance on the limited fresh fruit domestic markets. DPIF is also working with the NTHA to improve the general quality of Territory mangoes through the implementation of a comprehensive long term strategic plan. This will incorporate programs such as the Quality Assurance Scheme, market promotion, and better communication between growers, packers and wholesale agents in southern markets. A trade mark for Territory mangoes called Northern A-peel was launched in 1995 as part of the Quality Assurance Scheme. The scheme has worked well, resulting in Territory mangoes achieving a reputation for good quality, resulting in good returns to growers. From 1996, a locally owned road transport company, Territory Produce Freight Management (TPFM), started providing refrigerated road services for vegetable producers as a cheaper alternative to air freight. As a result, most heavy/bulky horticultural products are now shipped to southern markets by road. This not only means considerable savings on freight costs 59 Rural Industries and Fisheries

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