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ABARES:

Australian vegetable production strengthening

The gross value of Australian vegetable production is forecast to rise 4 per cent to $3.9 billion in 2015-16.And vegetable exports are expected to increase 3 per cent to $303 million, after a 9 per cent rise last year, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

The figures were released in the September edition of ABARES’ agricultural commodities report.

Peak body AusVeg spokesman Shaun Lindhe was heartened by the figures.

Potatoes remained the most lucrative vegetable crop, with a gross value of $619.7 million. Then came tomatoes, at $350.6 million.

“According to the data, ­potatoes accounted for 18 per cent of total gross value of vegetable production, followed by tomatoes and mushrooms, and that’s great news for the potato industry,” Mr Lindhe said.

“It’s a trend that we’ve seen for some time and we found through Australian consumer research commissioned by the potato levy. It has shown that potato purchases have increased ... and the latest wave of Potato Tracker research showed consumers were initiating a ­renaissance for the potato.”

Total vegetable exports (processed and fresh) amounted to $293 million in 2014-15 — much less than the value of imported vegetables at $942 million.

The value of Australian fresh vegetable exports grew in the three years to 2014-15 to about $173 million. This was more than twice the value of imported fresh vegetables, which mainly include garlic, asparagus, mushrooms, onion, shallots and capsicums.

Carrots, onions, potatoes, cauliflowers, broccoli and ­asparagus were the major fresh vegetables exports, with the United Arab Emirates, Japan and Malaysia the main destinations.

Source: weeklytimesnow.com.au

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