Aussie groups launch US$12.6M export supply chain monitoring scheme

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Aussie groups launch US$12.6M export supply chain monitoring scheme

An Australian public-private partnership has announced a AUD$16.5 million (US$12.6 million) strategy to help improve the country's reputation for delivering premium produce to Asia. 

In partnership with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QLD DAF), grower-owned research and development corporation Horticulture Innovation Australia has announced a four-year project to explore a " tightening of export operations along all stages of the supply chain".

The initiative will monitor a range of elements including the way produce is packed, how it is stored, and assess how to shorten the time from picking to arriving on supermarket shelves.

Horticulture Innovation Australia chief executive John Lloyd said the initiative would ensure end-buyers were getting the best fruit, vegetables and nut products possible.

"This is an exciting time for Australia’s horticulture exporters. It’s no secret Australian produce is popular in Asian markets because it is recognised as high-quality and safe with a strong aesthetic," he said.

"We look forward to working with the Queensland Government, and industry, to help propel the nation’s export offering to the next level."

Lloyd said the monitoring of conditions from farm to import customers was rarely done, so this project would help growers better understand he condition of their products on arrival and their products’ ability to withstand in-country distribution to the retailer and consumer.

Around 10% of Australian horticulture production is exported at a value of more than AUD$2 billion (US$1.5 billion). Over the past five years, exports to Asia – in particular, China, Hong Kong and Japan - have risen by almost 170%.

Queensland DAF project leader Dr. Peter Hofman said Australian growers had a firm appetite to increase export trade, and several leading producers had already shown their interest in participating in case studies that would be undertaken as part of the project.

"Project partner DEDJTR Victoria will work closely with temperate fruit export chains including stonefruit and table grapes," Hofman said.

"Montague Fresh is a key industry collaborator working to optimise export chains for fresh stonefruit to new and existing Asian markets, particularly nectarines to China."

This project is being delivered as part of Horticulture Innovation Australia’s new co-investment initiative addressing key issues facing Australian horticulture industries.

It will be guided by a steering committee including horticulture chain representatives, a Horticulture Innovation Australia representative, research and development specialists, a representative from the China Academy of Sciences, and horticulture agribusiness researchers from two Australian universities.

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