AUSVEG, the National Peak Industry Body for vegetable and potato growers, in conjunction with Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL), will demonstrate the quality and safety of Australian produce to Asia’s biggest restaurateurs and industry stakeholders through an industry-first Reverse Trade Mission, designed to create novel export opportunities for Australian vegetable producers.
“Australian produce is amongst some of the finest, and most importantly, safest, available on the planet, and in an era of oversupply and markedly low margins for growers, the vegetable industry now needs to look abroad to cement its future,” said AUSVEG Spokesperson, William Churchill.
“With slim domestic profit margins challenging Australian vegetable growers, we need to actively develop new markets where growers can reap the full benefits of their efforts. Considering our proximity to the region, we believe the best place to start is in Asia,” said Mr Churchill.
Representatives of key food retailers and providores from Hong Kong, Malaysia and Japan will be brought to Australia to undertake networking activities that will include visits to some of Australia’s most prominent vegetable growing farms in Queensland and Victoria, to witness how high-quality Australian produce is grown.
“During the course of this Reverse Trade Mission, AUSVEG hopes to facilitate new relationships between Australian growers and foreign buyers that will lay the groundwork for Australian vegetable exports into Asia,” said Mr Churchill.
In an address to the Global Food Forum in Melbourne last month, Visy Chief Executive, Anthony Pratt, echoed the concerns of Australian vegetable growers, stating there was a need to reinvigorate the Australian food processing sector.
“When one of Australia’s leading businessmen acknowledges that our industry is facing huge problems and needs to expand its horizons, you realise that the time to act is now. This Reverse Trade Mission will be the first stepping stone on a path to new opportunities for the Australian vegetable industry.
“Alongside other initiatives, including a booth showcasing Australian produce at leading trade expo Asia Fruit Logistica and an Export Symposium in June designed to inform growers how to tap into the Chinese market, 2013 will be the year the Australian vegetable industry makes its mark on the global stage,” said Mr Churchill.
This project is funded by Horticulture Australia Limited using the National Vegetable Levy and matched funds from the Australian Government.