Lychee is a seasonal, sub-tropical fruit that is considered to be a delicacy in many parts of Asia, especially amongst Chinese communities. Asia is potentially a lucrative market for Australian lychee growers because Australian production is out-of-season with respect to Asian production, and the Australian season coincides with the Chinese New Year, when demand for lychee is extremely high; and the fruit is prized more highly in Asia than it is in Australia. Prices paid for fruit exported from Australia are typically 40 % higher than those paid for fruit destined for Australia’s domestic market. Nonetheless, Australia exports only 8 % of its lychee to Asia, and only 20 % of its fruit in total. The reason for this is that the fruit has only a short storage-life, which prevents anything other than the best quality fruit from being exported, and then only by the fastest and most expensive means of transport. The Australian Lychee Industry is seeking ways to increases its access to Asian markets.
The aim of the project is to increase the size of the Asian market for Australian lychee, by developing practical, safe, reliable and cost-effective protocols for increasing the quality and storage-life of the fruit. It is anticipated that such a protocol would allow further growth in lychee exports