A $239,000 Agricultural Trade and Market Access Cooperation (ATMAC) grant has been given to Berries Australia Limited via the federal government, to aid the berry industry with the tools it needs to expand into export markets.
The ATMAC grants, awarded under the government’s Agri-Business Expansion Initiative (ABEI), support the trade expansion of Australian blueberries and strawberries into key high-growth markets.
Many berry growers are eager to export after experiencing a tough time during the pandemic, according to minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia, David Littleproud.
“This project will provide them with the insights and resources to actively and strategically engage with importers and retailers,” Littleproud said. “Berries represent a terrific opportunity for growth. In Australian supermarkets, berries are the single biggest fresh produce line with a combined value of more than $1 billion.
“There is enormous potential to translate this Australian success into a global export powerhouse, especially since Australia holds a number of the most prized berry varieties.”
The new project will aim to build exporter confidence as well as grow exports in high-growth markets, such as Singapore, India, Thailand and UAE, Berries Australia executive director Rachel Mackenzie said.
“The funding will provide the opportunity for exporters to re-ignite conversations and build relationships with importers and retailers in the target markets,” Mackenzie said.
“Even if growers are not exporters themselves, they will also benefit as this grant will help grow the pie and boost returns for all growers. The project will help the broader agriculture sector in achieving the $100 billion farmgate value by 2030 target.”
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian berry industry was starting to build momentum in the export of both blueberries and strawberries. Strawberries are Australia’s largest berry export, with $35 million export value in 2019.