Australian produce industry aims to lift veggie exports by 40%
Two Australian produce industry groups have joined forces on a new initiative to help boost the value of vegetable exports by 40% to AUD$315 million by 2020.
The Vegetable Industry Export Strategy 2020, being delivered by Horticulture Innovation Australia and developed in conjunction with peak grower body Ausveg, outlines a range of methods to help more growers and the wider industry export Australian vegetables to overseas markets.
In a release, Hort Innovation chief executive John Lloyd said the country's vegetable industry had a huge appetite for export growth, so there was a lot of untapped potential.
"Horticulture Innovation Australia is working with growers and AUSVEG to do everything it can to drive this growth and develop a financially sustainable vegetable export sector," Lloyd said.
He said vegetables currently made up around 5% of national export production in the horticultural sector.
"Through relationship building, working with industry to get it export ready, boosting supply chain efficiencies and overseas activities, that figure could significantly rise," he said.
"With all the necessary mechanisms in place, the Australian vegetable industry could increase its exports by 40 per cent within four years, and close to double exports within the next decade," he said.
Ausveg's national manager for export development Michael Coote said data from the Global Trade Atlas and the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed Australia exported around 210,000 metric tons (MT) of vegetables valued at AUD$227 million this past financial year.
The new strategy outlines an industry target of 310,000MT.
"The Australian vegetable industry has invested significantly in export development to help growers successfully export fresh Australian vegetables. The development of these markets is critical to the long-term viability of the industry," Coote said.
"The strategy will ensure vegetable exports are treated as a long-term channel to market by delivering industry-specific export training programs for growers, increasing the range of opportunities for growers to connect directly with overseas buyers and exploring product development and collaboration opportunities to determine the best products or business models for export success."
The strategy's goal of 40% export growth is significantly higher than a recent estimate of a 3.7% annual growth rate forecast by IBISWorld.