More Australian vegetables to hit Asian markets

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 16th July 2014
More Australian vegetables to hit Asian markets
More Australian vegetables to hit Asian markets

Containers of world-class Australian vegetables have left for Singaporean and Taiwanese shores, following the industry’s most successful Reverse Trade Mission in June 2014, involving over 40 leading Asian buyers and retailers.

Meanwhile, the signing of the Japan Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) has cemented Japan as another key destination for Australian vegetable exports.

Reverse Trade Mission sees Australian veg in Singapore and Taiwan

A fresh produce display at the Cairns Convention Centre, where the Reverse Trade Mission was held, allowed visiting buyers to sample Australian growers’ produce. Many negotiations taking place on the display floor, according to national vegetable and potato growers’ industry representative body AusVeg.

“The speed at which negotiations between Australian vegetable growers and international buyers have taken place has been unprecedented,” said Hayden Moore, AUSVEG National Manager, Export Development. “The Reverse Trade Mission has created unique and new opportunities for export-ready Australian vegetable growers, demonstrating to the wider industry how viable and profitable export can be,” he said.

The 2014 Reverse Trade Mission was an industry-funded project designed to facilitate networking opportunities for Australian vegetable growers and provide them with the tools to allow them to export their produce overseas.

“Feedback suggests that 90 per cent of buyers will increase their purchase of Australian-grown vegetables after attending the Reverse Trade Mission,” Mr Moore said. “This is a fantastic outcome for the Australian vegetable industry,” he said.

Love Beets interest from Singapore

In one example, AusVeg said a leading Singaporean buyer had recently expressed their interest in importing Love Beets – a new line of vacuum-sealed baby beetroot, launched in Australia in January 2014 by 2014 Innovative Marketing Award winner, One Harvest.

“Value-adding and creating innovative new products are both key to accessing new export markets and making businesses more profitable,” Mr Moore said.

In the coming months, AusVeg said it would continue to ramp up export opportunities for vegetable growers in partnership with Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL), with stands at Asia Fruit Logistica, Agritech Japan, and World of Perishables Dubai trade shows.

AusVeg said the stands would highlight the research and development (R&D) activities that have allowed for Australian growers to produce amongst the best vegetables in the world.

“It is vital that the industry continues to communicate the R&D which ensures Australian vegetables are safe and of high quality to international buyers and retailers, and to demonstrate these facts first-hand with the produce itself,” Mr Moore said.

The 2014 Reverse Trade Mission was funded by Horticulture Australia Limited using the National Vegetable Levy with matched funds from the Australian Government.

Japanese tariffs on Australian vegetables dropped

More Australian vegetables may also find their way to Japanese markets, with the signing of the JAEPA immediately eliminating tariffs on a range of vegetable commodities.

“Carrots, leeks, spinach, broccoli and cauliflower are big winners in this agreement with immediate elimination of the 3 per cent tariff on entry,” Mr Moore said.

While negotiations of the agreement concluded in April 2014, it was last week that the final text of the agreement had been made available.

AusVeg said that currently, vegetable exports to Japan were valued at over $51 million, making Japan the leading destination for Australian vegetable exports. The total value of vegetable exports to Japan has increased by 26 per cent since 2007-08.

“The increase in the value of vegetable exports from Australia to Japan is indicative of the rise in demand for high quality and safe vegetables in Asia,” Mr Moore said.

The immediate elimination of tariffs across a selection of horticultural commodities should help to further drive horticultural exports to Japan. AusVeg said the JAEPA also cemented Australia as a long term trading partner with Japan, paving the way for further negotiations for market access.

“There is still work to be done with Japan as far as market access is concerned,” Mr Moore said. “A number of commodities cannot enter Japanese for quarantine purposes, such as pumpkins and potatoes,” he said.

“We encourage the Government to increase its focus on agreeing on quarantine conditions with the Japanese Government,” Mr Moore said. “This will allow Australian vegetable exporters to realise the full potential of JAEPA. We are hopeful that the free trade agreement between Australia and Japan will provide impetus to the campaign for market access for key commodities,” he said.