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Oz barley, wine and lobster claw back trade after China bans

DESPITE trade troubles with China shunning its barley, wine and lobsters, the Australian economy returned to growth in the last quarter, exiting a Covid-induced recession, reported Agence France-Presse

29 December 2020 - 19:00
DESPITE trade troubles with China shunning its barley, wine and lobsters, the Australian economy returned to growth in the last quarter, exiting a Covid-induced recession, reported Agence France-Presse.

Individual businesses have even found new customers and markets overnight and have managed to avoid red ink, job cuts and bankruptcy for the most part.



Barley farmers have planted other grains and re-routed shipments to the Middle East, and winemakers have focused on selling more in Japan. And the lobster industry is looking closer to home.



In a bid to help the ravaged lobster sector, local authorities recently allowed fishermen to sell large quantities from the back of their boats during December and January.



So far the Australian public has responded enthusiastically. Before the Covid crisis, prices topped US$80 a kilogramme in Western Australia and usually averaged around US$53 per kilogramme.



On one muggy pre-Christmas weekday, sweat-drenched customers bought the world-renowned western rock lobster direct on the quay for US$34 a kilogramme - a 36 per cent markdown.



'That's just enough to break even,' said one fisherman. 'But we have been selling out almost every day. We are taking pre-orders as people want it for Christmas.'



Such is the demand across Australia that some supermarkets have had to place limits on the number of lobsters customers can buy.



Nick Van Niekerk, a resident of nearby Mosman Park, was one of those braving the heat to stand in line for 30 minutes.



'I came down to support the local fishermen and show that we as a community care,' he said. 'It's important to be able to get lobsters directly from the boats and know what you're actually getting.



'Lobsters are usually really expensive, so to get them at an affordable price I think is great for the local community.'



Australia's rock lobster exports are worth half a billion US dollars a year - and in normal Australia's rock lobster exports are worth half a billion US dollars a year - and in normal times, 94 per cent of them go to China.


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