Murray River Organics (MRG) will provide an increase of up to $200 per tonne for its third-party dried fruit growers as part of the company’s Sunraysia Grower Water Support Package for the 2020 crop.

In light of the severe drought conditions in Mildura and an increased price of temporary water, MRG CEO Valentina Tripp said the company wanted to provide Sunraysia growers with confidence for the coming season.

“We recognise the impact that the ongoing drought and water is having on growers in the Mildura area and as significant grower ourselves we understand the issues they are facing,” said Tripp.

“As a result, at this critical time, we have decided to initially offer up to $200 per tonne on top of last year’s pricing increases to source irrigation water for key in demand varieties.”

Tripp said the current water issues in Mildura remain a challenge for the agriculture industry as irrigation water from the Murray can cost up to $950 per megalitre, almost double the average price paid last season.

“Encouragingly, demand fundamentals for dried vine fruit remain strong, with the global fruit market experiencing growth in demand,” she said.

The price increases for third-party growers are part of MRG’s Growing Together program, which saw the intake of third-party grower dried vine fruit increase by 15 per cent from 2018, totalling to 1240 tonnes this year.

In 2018, MRG increased prices to third-party dried vine fruit growers by up to 25 per cent as pat of its plan to “ensure a fair return for fruit commensurate with global pricing trends”.

The MRG Sunraysia Grower Support Package is open to Sunraysia dried vine fruit growers who sign up by Friday, 29 November. MRG says it will commit to hold 2019 pricing for the 2020 harvest.

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