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Research pays off in India avocado trade deal

The Australian Government’s Hass avocado market access agreement with India is underpinned by a $3M investment into research to support the export of the fruit.

Delivered through Hort Innovation using industry levies and funds from the Australian Government, some of Australia’s top scientists partnered with the avocado industry to develop phytosanitary data that shows the health and safety of Australian Hass avocados is in line with India’s import requirements.

Hort Innovation chief executive Brett Fifield said in-market consumer insights gathering, inbound trade missions and strategic planning through a targeted export strategy have also been a focus for the industry.

“Getting to the point the Australian Government has with India today is no small feat,” he said.

“As well as significant work by the Government, this trade agreement, which is enacted after 10 successful shipments, has been informed by hundreds of hours of research.

“That includes developing novel phytosanitary measures for the fruit, with partners such as the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries QLD. That involves rigorously applying treatments to our avocados to prove they are pest and disease free with no impact on quality.”

Mr Fifield said the phytosanitary risk science Hort Innovation delivers with agencies, such as the CSIRO, contributes to international research in this field.

 “As an isolated continent, Australia has a reputation for taking the risks of spreading pests and pathogens that harm crops and natural environments seriously. That is why our produce is considered premium-quality and is highly sought after all over the world.”

John Tyas, CEO of Avocados Australia, considers Australia’s market access to India to be a “game changer” for the Australian avocado industry and commended the Australian Government on their efforts in achieving this outcome.

 “The Australian Government has worked very hard and closely with industry to achieve a commercially viable and workable protocol that all Australian Hass avocado growers will be able to use,” said Tyas.

 More avocado trade efforts currently underway or recently completed include:

  •  An Australian Avocados trade development project including an outbound mission to the Indian market and helping growers prepare market access applications.
  • The development of an avocados export strategy that defines the trade roadmap for the industry for the next five years, used as a supporting document for market access application.
  • An avocado market research project that focussed on providing growers with India and Thailand consumer and retailer behaviour information. This work will help exporters to build the capacity and capability to service the Indian market.
  •  An initiative that aims to strengthen Australia’s diplomatic relations with India, through building joint research and development capacity, which supports better trading outcomes.
  •  Hort Innovation also hosts the International Market Access Assessment Panel, which scores and assesses all horticulture market access applications prior to them going to the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry for consideration.

 Various overseas market promotional activity is underway year-round through Grown in Good Nature, with scope for industry to leverage the program in India in the future.

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