Australian horticulture set for biggest ever export push

Assistant Min for Ag Senator Anne Ruston with vegetable grower, Ed Fagan of Mulyan.

Hort Innovation has launched the biggest ever trade push in Australian horticulture’s history with an ambitious plan to significantly grow exports by 2025.

Announced by Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, a key component of the initiative is the new ‘Taste Australia’ in-market export activity, which will help promote premium Australian produce in current and future markets. The plan will also see more research and development to grow market access, and increased support for current and aspiring exporters.

“We’re an exporting nation. We’re never going to get anywhere selling to ourselves so it’s incredibly important that we actually start looking for export markets to make sure that the opportunities that horticulture can deliver for Australia are actually able to be delivered,” said Ruston.

Hort Innovation chair Selwyn Snell said the potential for growth is significant given Australia’s solid reputation for producing high-quality produce, wide untapped opportunities, and the industry’s appetite for trade.

“Australia is known for delivering high-end produce that has undergone the most rigorous food safety inspections along all stages of the supply chain,” he said. “We want to build upon that. The first way we are doing this is through Taste Australia, which tells the unique story of Australian horticulture products.”

Developed in consultation with growers, State and Federal Government agencies and other trade stakeholders, Taste Australia will be launched with more than 200 industry representatives at Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong next month. That will kick off a six-month tour of trade show events in Dubai, Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Snell said this year, the organisation will invest 40 per cent more on trade show efforts than last year and growers and industry representative participation in overseas promotional activities will rise by 30 per cent.

Back home in Australia, Hort Innovation is investing more than $10.5M in trade-related R&D activities over the next year and is set to boost its investment across areas such as biosecurity, pre-export produce treatments, and supply chain efficiencies.

Ed Fagan from Mulyan Farms, a former farmer of the Year and grower who utilises R&D to support his export activities, was present at the launch.

“We’ve been calling for market access for a long time into the Asian and European markets and finally the pieces are coming together,” he said.

According to Fagan, things like free trade agreements and infrastructure investment are good news for farmers. “We’re finally getting numerous bits and pieces coming together so it means a company like ours is able to export in a much easier fashion then we have before,” he said.

Toby Smith from Olam Almonds, Anne Ruston, Meg Mason from Fresh Produce Group, Selwyn Snell Hort Innovation Chair, Brett Jackson Sevenfields, and Ed Fagan Mulyan Farms.

Toby Smith from Olam Almonds; Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Anne Ruston; Meg Mason from Fresh Produce Group; Selwyn Snell, Chair of Hort Innovation; Brett Jackson from Sevenfields; and Ed Fagan from Mulyan Farms.