Demand for fresh Australian vegetables continues to rise

The value and volume of fresh Australian vegetable exports have increased in 2017/18, following strong trading conditions in key export markets in Asia and the Middle East, and increased demand for Australian-grown vegetables.

The value of fresh Australian vegetable exports increased by three per cent to $262.4 million in 2017/18, Ausveg reports.

The industry is well placed to meet its goal of 40 per cent growth to $315 million in fresh vegetable exports by 2020, Ausveg explains.

The top five markets for fresh vegetable exports by volume in 2017/18 were the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia, which make up just over 60 per cent of Australia’s total fresh vegetable export volume.

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The top five markets for fresh vegetable exports by value in 2017/18 were Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Malaysia and Hong Kong, with the top three of these markets making up over 50 per cent of the industry’s total fresh vegetable export value.

Ausveg national manager for export development, Michael Coote, said the vegetable industry has seen solid growth in exports across a variety of fresh vegetable products in recent years, with the whole vegetable category averaging 10 per cent year-on-year growth over the past three years.

“Carrots are the number one traded fresh vegetable commodity by both volume and value, with steady year-on-year growth over a sustained period of time indicating that demand for Australian carrots remains strong,” said Coote.

“Over 85 per cent of Australia’s fresh vegetable export volume is comprised of carrots, potatoes and onions. However, we still see positive growth in some other categories, including asparagus, which despite only comprising two per cent of fresh vegetable exports by volume, make up 11 per cent of fresh vegetable export trade by value and are the second highest value fresh vegetable commodity at $28 million,” he said.

Through its work in developing the exporting capabilities of the Australian vegetable industry, Ausveg undertook a wide range of activities during 2018 to help the industry improve its exporting capabilities, including:

  • Five outbound trade missions, taking 42 grower-exporters to key export markets to increase the capability for emerging and existing grower-exporters through in-market trade activities and knowledge-sharing among growers;
  • Six export workshops, which provided 44 attendees with practical and tailored knowledge about the export process; and
  • Eight new market access submissions for different vegetables into Asian markets.

“The industry has increased its focus on boosting the value and volume of its vegetable exports, with work being undertaken by Ausveg, Hort Innovation and other groups in building the exporting skills of Australian growers and providing opportunities to build relationships with foreign buyers, as well as supporting the Taste Australia trade program,” said Coote.

“We are working with growers to ensure they have the skills and knowhow to improve their ability to export their produce and capitalise on increasing demand for fresh, Australian-grown produce.

“We are also working closely with the Australian government and international trading partners to open market access for more vegetable commodities so that our growers can increase their exports into key export markets across Asia and the Middle East,’ said Coote.

Fight against fruit fly strengthened with technology

Australian fruit and vegetable growers will be given a new edge in the fight against fruit fly, with new high-tech systems giving early warnings of fly movements.

Minister for agriculture David Littleproud said a $16.9-million-dollar package would assure trading partners when produce came from a fruit-fly free area.

“Fruit fly outbreaks cost the horticultural industry millions every year,” said Littleproud.

“If we take control of fruit fly we’ll get access to more premium markets and boost farm gate prices.

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“We’ve started a trial of smart-traps that’ll send farmers instant alerts if fruit fly is detected,” he said.

Sensors detect fruit flies in the trap by the way they move and send mobile alerts to growers.

“This can provide farmers the best possible information so they can respond to an outbreak quicker.

“We’re also investing in a national mapping program, to track the movement of QFly in summer,” said Littleproud.

“The flies make their way south as it warms up and this will let growers know where they are and help us target where to release our sterile fruit flies.

“We’re putting extension officers on the ground to help growers use the latest science,” he said.

The officers help farmers work through the latest research and development that they can then put to work in their orchards.

“This package will help protect our $12 billion horticultural industry and reassure our trading partners of the systems we have in place,” said Littleproud.

Australia’s horticultural production employs more than 50,000 people.

The program will go the management of fruit flies such as the Mediterranean fruit fly in areas including in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, and the native Queensland fruit fly on the East Coast.

For the year ending June 2017, Australia exported $2.23 billion worth of horticultural products.

The program will go the management of fruit flies such as the Mediterranean fruit fly in areas including in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, and the native Queensland fruit fly on the East Coast.