In Australia, mangoes are the quintessential summer fruit. However, a move to remove compulsory levies that growers pay as their fruit is sold is threatening to push the industry backwards.
A vote by mango growers in 2011 approved an industry move to increase the compulsory mango levy by 1 cent per tray to contribute to funding for biosecurity issues. This increase took place from 1st July this year. However, a move from Liberal Senator David Leyonhjelm to disallow the levy has left the industry reeling.
Robert Gray, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Mango Industry Association, said that the mango levy is essential to the future of the industry. “During the 2012 / 2013 mango season, there was a significant incidence of an issue called Resin Canal Discolouration. While this issue only affects the appearance of a mango it can drastically reduce the price a mango is sold for, hurting growers back pockets. The industry recognised that this was a serious issue, and during the 2013 / 2014 season, used funds from the mango levy to initiate a research project to assess the issue and look at possible causes,” he said.
Mango levies receive widespread support from the industry and are recognised as being vital to the growth and prosperity of the Australian mango industry. Levies fund research and development, biosecurity measures, are used to work toward market access for mango exports, and marketing programs that ensure ongoing demand for the popular fruit.
“The levy system allows our industry to invest in issues that could cause significant damage to our growers if not addressed. The issue of Resin Canal Discolouration is just an example that paints a picture of the need for the levy system. Without the compulsory levy, the industry would have little or no options to deal with issues like this.
“If the Senate vote to disallow the levy is successful, it could put the whole levy system in disarray. The levies in question were passed by a majority of mango growers. The final decision should rest with the growers as they pay the levy and will be most affected by the disallowance,” Mr Gray said.