How Berries Australia plans to expand export markets for future growth
Berries Australia encourages growers to consider the export potential surrounding industry growth, noting that working together to ensure overseas markets are open and supplied will create more opportunities.
Export manager Jenny Van de Meeberg told the recent BerryQuest that the sustainability of the industry depends on maintaining a balance between the domestic market and the export market, so supply must meet demand. .
“If those two things are out of balance and there is oversupply, we would see downward pressure on prices,” she said. “So exporting is important because it is in the interest of all producers. Everyone benefits from the exit of the fruits from the internal market and the balance is maintained. Exporting is the other way to realize the growth of the industry. To significantly increase the volume and value of the industry, we need to find export markets that can take good volumes of fruit at commercially sustainable prices, especially in peak periods. Our goal is to encourage more fruit into export supply chains, not to make every grower an exporter. This is an important distinction because you don’t have to be responsible for all the export functions, it’s about the business model you choose. Your fruit may be export compliant, but the heavy lifting of exporting it is then done by another party. .”
According to Hort Innovation’s Australian Horticulture Statistics Handbook, for the year ending June 2021, Australia’s export volume of fresh berries was 3,933 tonnes and it was valued at $34 million. Strawberries accounted for 3,578 tons (worth $25.5 million), blueberries 342 tons ($8.4 million) and Rubus berries (raspberries, blackberries and other berries such as boysenberries and silvanberries) accounted for 13 tons and $200,000.
She added that Berries Australia had secured a range of funding sources to support the activities they undertake on behalf of growers.
“There is a large levy investment project, which is collectively funded by the levies on strawberries, blueberries and Rubus,” Van de Meeberg said. “It has a three-year horizon, and a project reference group of growers guides what we do in these activities. We have also been successful in securing grants from the Ministry of Agriculture to fund the activities and we have also developed partnerships with the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), which provides in-market services to assist producers who wish to export directly.”
Berries Australia has also drafted action plans to help guide export growth. Ms. Van de Meeberg explains that this is a focused 18-month plan that focuses on the short term and next steps. There is also an Export Center, accessible to producers on the industry website, which provides information on accessing new markets and developing trade, as well as a dashboard with regular trade data and market information in certain countries. Producers can also take part in an export training course, which is entirely online and divided into modules.
“If you are a large company that already has export experience, you might want to consider using it as an induction tool, when onboarding other people to your team,” he said. she declared. “But the export hub is a password-protected area of the site because we don’t want to put a lot of information in the public domain, but we want our growers to be able to use it. We will continue to put more resources there so that the industry has a single source of truth when it comes to seeking export support. »
Photos: File, provided by Berries Australia
Importers and buyers from other countries also contacted Berries Australia through an export inquiry function, where they signaled their interest in purchasing products from Australia. With the support of Austrade, the industry has also engaged in international trade shows and lobbied on the issue of market access and opening up new avenues.
“We have filed a number of requests about this,” Ms Van de Meeberg said. “With blueberries, we sought new access to Vietnam, South Korea, Taiwan and New Zealand. I am happy to say that blueberries are currently the priority for active negotiation with Vietnam, so we hope to see some activity in the next few years. Regarding strawberries, we have successfully seen an irradiation route to New Zealand and have requested the same for Thailand. Although market access research and development programs are important because that is the body of work we need to make these market access applications. We have therefore embarked on a number of projects to do the R&D we need so that blueberries and strawberries can present more market demands. »
For more information
Jenny Van de Meeberg
Telephone: +61 410 536 269