Australian lychee exports are primarily to countries in South East Asia, including Hong Kong and Singapore. Lychees are also exported to the United Arab Emirates, the Pacific Islands and Canada.
Lychee production is spread along the east coast of Australia from Coffs Harbour in northern NSW to Cooktown in far north Queensland; however the industry is concentrated around the Sunshine Coast, Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Mackay, Ingham, Tully and the Atherton Tablelands.
Lychee is considered difficult to grow as it requires frost-free conditions, and does not produce a substantial crop until 6–8 years after planting. The productive life of a tree is considered to be about 15 years.
Lychee fruit has a short shelf life as it degrades quickly after harvest. Lychees are also canned whole or made into a range of jellies, jams, preserves and lychee tea.
The Australian Lychee Growers’ Association is the peak national body for the industry.
Facts and figures
- Lychees are grown from Coffs Harbour in New South Wales to Cooktown in far north Queensland
- Lychee is considered difficult to grow
- The right post-harvest handling and cooling infrastructure is critical, as lychee fruit degrades quickly
- A lychee tree does not produce a substantial crop until 6–8 years after planting, and the productive life of the tree is about 15 years
More than 90% of Australian lychee production occurs in Queensland, in tropical and subtropical regions. More data relating to lychee production is available in the AgriFutures Australia Report Emerging animal and plant industries: Their value to Australia.