(Sept. 6) Representatives of Australian citrus growers will choose this fall who will be their single-desk marketer in the U.S. for the next few years, according to several citrus marketers.

Trade reports indicate Australian officials will hear presentations from citrus marketers before the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit 2006 show in October in San Diego. Horticulture Australia Ltd., Sydney, could not be reached for comment.

Since winning access in 1991, Australia has exported navels and other citrus varieties under the single-desk system, where only one U.S. marketer serves as importer. DNE World Fruit Sales, Fort Pierce, Fla., has been that firm for the entire 15 years.

15 YEARS OF GROWTH

U.S. imports of Australian oranges have grown from nonexistent in 1990 to 27,000 metric tons in 2005, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Navel oranges in Australia are typically harvested from June through October.

“Every five years they do this review and tender offers to the trade,” said Stu Monaghan, Australia citrus manager for DNE.

Monaghan said he was confident DNE would be the choice to handle Australia’s exports to the U.S.

DNE will feature volume of Australia navels through Sept. 22.

Australia’s navel orange production in 2006 was 220,000 metric tons, down more than 30% compared with a year ago, according to the USDA.

David Mixon, senior vice president at Seald Sweet LLC, Vero Beach, Fla., said he was at DNE when Australia won access to the U.S. market and chose the marketer.

Leaving DNE in mid-2004 and later that year joining Seald Sweet, Mixon said Seald Sweet will make its case for Australian citrus.