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China's Cherry Chase

<p>Cherry orchard in Tasmania</p>

Employee at the Coal Valley Orchard in southern Tasmania. Picture: Peter Mathew

Chinese investment in Tasmania’s world renowned cherry harvest is at an all time high over the past 24 months with five of its last six orchards purchased by Chinese investors. Ready just in time for Chinese New Year, Tasmania’s pest- and disease-free cherries are highly sought-after and can easily be exported to mainland China by air.

Last season’s exports of Tasmanian cherries to China proved very lucrative with an estimated worth of $52 million. This impressive growth has resulted in plans to double almost all of Tasmania’s orchards' production by 2020.

With local growers lacking the capital to meet growing demands and Australian investors remaining largely uninterested, Chinese investment has proven critical to the success of Tasmania’s cherry industry. Interviewed by The Australian, Fruit Growers Tasmania business ­development manager Phil Pyke said that the influx of Chinese capital had brought positive change to the entire region: “In the last two years, the whole dynamics of the Tasmanian fruit sector has changed from those traditional, generation farms to the arrival of the foreign investors."

Click here to read the full article on The Australian.