Carrot exports reach $ 100 million during COVID-19 pandemic
Australian carrot exports grew by more than 7 percent last year to become a $ 100 million industry.
- Carrot exports increased 7% last year to $ 100 million
- Overall, Australian fresh vegetable exports were valued at $ 263 million, down 6%
- Producers in the Northern Territory have also started exporting pumpkins to Singapore
While exports of fresh vegetables were generally down in 2020, exports of carrots increased in both volume and value.
“With the closure of the hospitality industry in Australia following the pandemic, the same situation was occurring in export markets,” said Michael Coote, new managing director of AUSVEG.
“Restaurants, cafes, hotels, bars and pubs were all closed and people were eating at home.
“Retail demand has therefore increased dramatically in many countries, like here… and carrots, as a staple vegetable we use in the majority of dinners, have also increased.
“The same was happening in Singapore, Hong Kong and all of our major markets.”
Mr Coote said more than 110,000 tonnes of carrots were exported last year, with the majority sent to Asia and the Middle East.
He said Western Australia accounted for 85 percent of carrot exports.
“Carrot exports have continued to grow, especially over the past two years,” Mr. Coote said.
He said there was room for the industry to expand, but labor issues, freight logistics and rising regulatory costs were of concern.
“We can produce a lot more in Australia. It’s just a matter of finding a home for it, so export markets are where this growth can come from.”
NT starts exporting pumpkins
Pumpkin exports also reversed the trend in 2020, increasing 16% in value to $ 5.8 million.
And it could get bigger in the years to come if plans in the Northern Territory come to fruition.
About 10 tonnes of musk pumpkins were shipped from Darwin earlier this week to Singapore in what NT farmers hope will be the start of a new market for high-end growers.
Pumpkins were grown near Katherine and are considered the first pumpkins exported directly from the NT for at least 20 years.
“We certainly hope for more expeditions [this year]”said Robert Hall of Pak Fresh Handling.
“This client in Singapore is looking at an additional five to six containers, and we are also looking at Indonesia and Malaysia as future destinations.
“So I hope that over the next few weeks and months we will do more [pumpkin exports] in these areas.
“Our aim is to open up different avenues for producers… and doing it directly from Darwin means it gets to overseas customers in Asia faster and keeps product quality at a higher level.
Exciting development for the north
NT Farmers Association CEO Paul Burke said pumpkin exports are an exciting development for the North.
“The fact that the Darwin Logistics Hub is now exporting products will reassure producers that the hub is hitting its straps,” he said.
“This first shipment will also pave the way for the melons to depart via Darwin instead of making the long journey south before being exported.
“I have no doubts that many mango growers are watching with considerable interest and will consider marketing options in new markets for the coming season. “