Three Australian state-based bodies have collaborated on a three-year Host Innovation funded project to assist vegetable growers into export. Queensland based Growcom, Tasmania's Fruit and Vegetable Export Facilitation Group and vegetables WA will form a network across Australia with three "on-ground" export facilitators.
Claire McClelland, who heads the project through vegetablesWA, said the aim is to assist in up-skilling Australian vegetable growers to become export ready.
"This will increase Australian vegetable exports by supporting growers to capitalise on commercial business opportunities," said Claire. "Through collaboration within the industry, closer linkages will be provided across the supply chain to achieve the overarching objective of the Vegetable Industry Export Market Development Strategy."
"This object focuses on growing the value of vegetable exports by 40 per cent by 2020."
Ian Locke of the Tasmanian Fruit and Vegetable Export Facilitation Group explained the key markets in Asia and Middle East are driving demand for fresh produce, providing more opportunity for Australian vegetable growers to become involved with export.
"Australia has a number of competitive advantages in the international marketplace including geographical proximity to key markets, counter seasonality and the perception of Australia as a premium quality producer," Ian said.
State based facilitators (from left) Luke Hargreaves Queensland, Claire McClelland Western Australia and Ian Locke Tasmania
The state-based facilitator and the national network connects growers and resources to create collaborative partnership to increase the likelihood of export success.
Claire McClelland says there is no such thing as a "one size fits all" model for export.
"Support offered through this project will be tailored to individual at different stages of export readiness," she said.
"The reality is many new exporters may be smaller businesses with limited product range and seasonality."
"Therefore the state-based coordinator and the national network will connect growers and resources to create collaborative partnerships to increase the likelihood of export success."
This project will also support the delivery of the national Vegetable Industry Development Strategy and the national Vegetable Export Development Program (VG16061) facilitated by the Export Development team at AUSVEG.