SYDNEY, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- A favourite summer treat of Australians will soon be bound for China in greater numbers than ever before, with a newly announced initiative joining experts and producers to boost the export of North Australian mangoes by an estimated 200 percent.
The 1.6-million-U.S. dollar undertaking was announced on Monday and will be led by the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA), involving Australia's leading Calypso mango exporter Perfection Fresh (Perfection), the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) and the University of Queensland (UQ).
Northern Territory project manager Sally Leigo from the CRCNA told Xinhua that a number of new mango plantations being established in the region have prompted the industry to look for new and innovative export avenues.
Key to the new strategy will be moving from airfreight to sea freight, allowing for a larger amount of produce to be moved, but creating the distinct problem of maintaining freshness during the 18-day journey from Brisbane to China.
"An issue that the team in this project certainly want to tackle is, how can you maintain the quality of that fresh mango throughout the transportation and various handling procedures once it arrives," Leigo said.
"A key with mangoes is making sure they don't ripen too quickly during the transportation process."
Because the ripeness process is affected by heat, the team intend to use data loggers to monitor the temperatures within refrigeration units, with information being sent via satellite to make sure that the fruit is at its best when it arrives.
Leigo said the success of the project will mean Chinese consumers are able to enjoy even more of this coveted fruit counter-season to their own market.
The project is expected to be completed by mid-2021.