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‘Ideal timing’ sparks $13.7M vegetable, onions and melon trade effort

Australia's melon, onion and vegetable growers have joined forces to develop a $13.7M export development program, through Hort Innovation, at a time of rising trade capacity within the industries and strong Australian produce demand.

Being delivered through Hort Innovation using industry levies and funds from the Australian Government, and led by vegetable representative body, AUSVEG, with support from Onions Australia and Melons Australia, the 5-year initiative will build the industries’ export capability and support their sustainability over time.

Hort Innovation head of trade, Brei Montgomery, said now is the ideal time to launch the effort with various factors informing the approach.

“Now is the ideal time for this program when you look at current movements within our trade markets,” she said. “Covid has presented challenges, but it has also resulted in new ways to engage stakeholders; the strengthening of relationships to eager markets and a desire for businesses to diversify to cater to this demand.”

Ms Montgomery said the multi-industry export program is a first for the horticulture industry and will see a collaborative approach for growers in the vegetable, onion and melon industries.

“For the onion, vegetable and melon industries, working together makes sense,” she said. “They all share similar objectives to strengthen their overseas trade positions through a strategic, collaborative approach,” she said.

Underpinning the Multi-Industry Export Program is various export capability and market development activities delivered by AUSVEG through Hort Innovation. The new program includes the provision of sophisticated market intelligence data and insights for growers. On top of that, tailored advice on value-adding for export and a comprehensive program will provide growers with opportunities to re-engage with export markets and networks.

AUSVEG CEO Michael Coote said the program focuses on building grower export capability and capacity, collating international market information for decision-making and giving vegetable, onion and melon growers the ability to participate in the highly successful AUSVEG market development program. He said business development functions to uplift the ability of exporting growers to service a wider range of markets and channels and expand international trade opportunities in the future would also be priorities.

Melons Australia CEO Johnathon Davey said that there were plenty of synergies in the export development work that AUSVEG undertakes for the vegetable industry and the outcomes that the melon industry has identified as priorities in building its capabilities in export.

Onions Australia Executive Committee member and exporter Tim Groom said the multi-industry export program will support a strong history of successful trade and relationship building. “The Australian onion industry is the second largest vegetable crop exported in Australia with a significant portion of mature growers who have a strong export focus,” he said. 

- The Australian vegetable industry is one of Australia’s largest horticultural industries. In 20-21, 215,374 tonnes of fresh vegetables were exported at a value of $264m. Most Australian fresh vegetable trade is exported to open, non-protocol markets such as Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia.

- For the year ending June 2021, Australia exported 49,429 tonnes of fresh onions and 82 tonnes of dried onions. Fresh onion trade is largely exported to non-protocol markets such as Europe (the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany), Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, and Japan.

- The Australian melon industry exported 12,890 tonnes of fruit in 20-21 with a value of $26.5 million. Key markets are the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Singapore and Qatar.

For more information:
Kelly Vorst-Parkes
kelly.vorst-parkes@horticulture.com.au
Tel: +61 427 142 537


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