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AHEIA news

Hort Connections 2019

AUSVEG and PMA Australia-New Zealand Limited (PMA A-NZ) have again united to deliver the joint industry conference and Trade Show, Hort Connections 2019.

Hort Connections 2019 will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre 24–26 June 2019. Members in the horticulture industry will be inspired to aim high, with the theme ‘Growing our Food Future’ headlining the conference. The event will cater to buyers and sellers from every segment of the fresh produce and floral supply chain including seed companies, growers, packers, processors, shippers, importers and exporters, wholesalers and retailers, foodservice, associated suppliers to the industry,
and many more.

Following on from the successful Hort Connections 2018 in Brisbane, this year’s event is set to become the most influential space for networking, education and business for the entire fresh produce industry.

Airport check to add $19 million in costs to industry

AUSTRALIAN horticulture exporters are bracing for $19 million in additional costs when strict new security measures are rolled out across the nation’s airports next year.

In the wake of a foiled terrorist plot to blow up an aircraft in Sydney last year, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the security boost for all Australian airports.

It comes after the US introduced similar security procedures mid-last year. The new air cargo examination requirements will see every piece of airfreight either physically examined or screened by technology for explosives and drugs from March 1 next year.
Australia exports more than 87,000 tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables annually by aeroplane, making up about 15 per cent of all airfreighted goods.

Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association chief executive Dominic Jenkin has estimated the measure will cost about $0.22/kg, “representing an additional cost of more than $19 million a year”.
“And the true cost to the economy is likely to eclipse this amount,” Mr Jenkin said.

Vegetables made up a significant portion of Australian exports by plane in 2017-18, followed by melons, summer fruit, grapes and mangoes.

Mr Jenkin said the horticultural exporting industry was disappointed there was so little consultation about how the security measures would be applied to fresh produce. “We see the sector as a significant stakeholder in the air cargo community, also one with challenges — low margins, high volumes — the little things can make a big effect,” he said.

The AHEIA calculated it would cost the nation’s vegetable industry $4 million a year in screening fees.

An AusVeg spokesman said while the importance of a safe and secure supply chain was acknowledged, “it is crucial such measures do not compromise the viability and quality of vegetable exports”. 

Australian Mango Industry Association chief executive Robert Gray said aside from the US, Australia would be one of the few countries with such strict security measures in place for airfreight exports.

“We’re going to be encumbered by an added process our competitors won’t have to endure,” Mr Gray said.

AHEIA chairman and Brisbane exporter Joseph Saina said the issue for the horticulture industry was the low value of the goods.
“Vegetables will be the biggest losers,” Mr Saina said.

ALEXANDRA LASKIE, The Weekly Times
July 11, 2018

Australian air cargo to be examined at piece level

The move will have costly implications on Australian fresh produce industries shipping by air

From 1 March 2019, the Australian government’s Office of Transport Security is cracking down on security by introducing piece-level examinations for all outbound international cargo shipments.

Currently, piece-level examinations are only standard for Australian cargo destined for the US, however, the requirement will soon be made for all outbound air shipments. That includes all fresh produce.

Dominic Jenkin, CEO of the Australian Horticultural Exporters and Importers Association (AHEIA), said the changes will significantly increase the cost of exporting fresh fruit and vegetables from Australia.

Each individual box of produce will need to be screened by a Regulated Air Cargo Agent, using technology like x-ray, or be physically inspected.

After screening and loading fees, The AHEIA estimates total added costs to the industry at A$0.22/kg (US$0.16) and expects low unit value items like melons and vegetables to suffer most.

Australia currently exports more than 87,000 tonnes of fresh produce annually by air, which accounts for 15 per cent of the country’s total fresh produce exports.

If this figure remains, the total cost increase for the industry predicted by the AHEIA sits at around A$19m (US$14m) annually.

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com

Author: Camellia Aebischer

Cost-recovery model dropped

HUGE price hikes for fruit, vegetable, nut and flower exports have been scrapped after the Federal Government caved to pressure from horticulture industries that argued the fees would make overseas trade unfeasible.

The fees were due to come into effect on July 1 and would have over-recovered more than $3.5 million over the next four years.

But a united campaign from eight industry associations — Apple and Pear Australia, Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association, Australian Mango Industry Association, Australian Table Grape Association, AusVeg, Cherry Growers Australia, Citrus Australia and Summerfruit Australia — successfully campaigned for the Federal Government to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new cost-recovery model.

In an email circulated last week the department said it would not be implementing revised cost-recovery arrangements for horticulture exports in 2018-19, and existing fees and charges would remain unchanged.

It will now undertake a full review of the current scheme, with any new changes to take effect from July 1 next year.

Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association chief executive Dominic Jenkin said he was elated the industry was able to work together to secure a commitment from the Federal Government to consult more closely with growers and exporters to draw up a new scheme.

“We really have to go back to the drawing board now, conduct a thorough review of the services the department is offering, determine whether those services are indeed relevant to the industry, and whether they’re being efficiently delivered or not,” Mr Jenkin said.

“Then following agreement, to determine the equitable distribution of those costs in accordance with the cost-recovery guidelines.”

Earlier this year the department released a draft outlining new levies for 2018-19, including a doubling of the phytosanitary certificate levy from $38 a document to $78.

It included an increase to the horticultural products levy to non-protocol countries of 160 per cent, from $0.65 to $1.70 a tonne, and to protocol countries from $1.30 to $3.40 a tonne.

Horticulture groups labelled the costs “fundamentally flawed” and were concerned the Federal Government was seeking to recover considerably more than the cost of providing export certification services.

The department had stated in its draft document it would not seek to recoup years of under-recovery. But the forecast opening cost recovery reserve had a negative balance of $3.8 million, and the proposed model would have recaptured this deficit, beginning in 2018-19.

ALEXANDRA LASKIE, The Weekly Times
June 27, 2018

Source: https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au

 

ATMAC phase 2 - Callout to companies that import fresh fruit from China and Vietnam

AHEIA has successfully completed the first phase of the ATMAC project awarded to them by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. The project - ‘Bilateral Trade Facilitation through Import Value Chain Development and Capacity Building’, aims to support bilateral trade participation with Vietnam and China.

As a result of phase 1 of the project, AHEIA has produced the following resources:

Exporting Dragonfruit to Australia from Vietnam:


•      Marketing Vietnamese dragon fruit in Australia
       A guide to understanding the market potential for Vietnamese dragon fruit in Australia


•     Tiếp thị thanh long Việt Nam tại Úc
       Một hướng dẫn để hiểu về tiềm năng của thanh long Việt Nam tại thị trường Úc


•     Also available in both languages


Exporting Pears to Australia from China:
•      Exporting Pears to Australia from Hebei, Shaanxi and Shandong Provinces
       Understanding Australia’s import requirements for Pears imported from Hebei, Shaanxi and Shandong Provinces


•      河北、陕西和山东向澳大利亚出口梨
       澳大利亚从河北、陕西和山东进口梨的进口规定


•     Also available in both languages

We seek the participation of members that import fresh fruit from either China or Vietnam to collaborate on Phase 2 of the project:


•      Participants will benefit from a tailored intervention that will identify, and take steps to rectify, deficiencies in postharvest processing, packaging, cold-chain and logistics in the fresh produce value chains to improve product out-turn in Australia.
•      We will be working in partnership with Steritech, the sole provider of phytosanitary irradiation services in the Australian market, who will provide technical support, participate in value chain interventions and contribute their expertise to the process. Please contact AHEIA directly for more information.

 

Australian horticulture exporters’ fury on fees

AUSTRALIA’S notoriously fragmented horticulture sector has joined forces to unanimously oppose price hikes to export fees.

The fees are flagged to come into effect on July 1 and will over-recover more than $3.5 million during the next four years.
Eight major industry associations — Apple and Pear Australia, Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association, Australian Mango Industry Association, Australian Table Grape Association, AusVeg, Cherry Growers Australia, Citrus Australia and Summerfruit Australia — have called on the Federal Government to re-engage with stakeholders before introducing a new cost recovery model for horticulture export services.


Earlier this year the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources released a draft document outlining new levies for 2018-19, including a doubling of the phytosanitary certificate levy from $38 a document to $78. It would also increase the horticultural products levy to non-protocol countries by 160 per cent, from $0.65 to $1.70 a tonne, and to protocol countries from $1.30 to $3.40 a tonne.


Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association chief executive Dominic Jenkin said the scheme was “fundamentally flawed”. “I see no way it can proceed. Loading up charges on tonnages will significantly impact the sector,” Mr Jenkin said.

“It has the potential to undermine the whole model because it would become unfeasible for most to continue trading.”
He said the Federal Government was seeking to recover considerably more than the cost of providing export certification services.
The department has stated in its draft document it would not seek to recoup years of under-recovery. But the forecast opening cost recovery reserve has a negative balance of $3.8 million, and the proposed model would recapture this deficit, beginning in 2018-19.

Paul Scheffer, general manager of exports for major fruit and vegetable exporter T & G, said the proposed new costs would make Australian horticulture uncompetitive on a global stage.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources said it was now considering stakeholder feedback.

“This feedback will inform the final, publicly available document,” a spokesman said.

Source: 

ALEXANDRA LASKIE, The Weekly Times

Australian produce industry unites to oppose export fee hike

Australia’s horticulture sector has joined forces to unanimously oppose price hikes to export fees, The Weekly Times reported.

Eight major industry associations, including AusVeg, the Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association, and Apple and Pear Australia, have approached the government to re-engage with stakeholders to introduce a new cost recovery model.

The new fees would see the phytosanitary certificate levy document double from AUD$38 to AUD$78, the article reported.

They would also be an increase of the horticultural products levy to non-protocol countries of 160% to AUD$1,70 per metric ton (MT), and to protocol countries it would nearly triple to AUD$3.40 per MT.

“I see no way it can proceed. Loading up charges on tonnages will significantly impact the sector,” Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association chief executive Dominic Jenkin was quoted as saying.

“It has the potential to undermine the whole model because it would become unfeasible for most to continue trading”.

He reportedly said the government was seeking to recover considerably more than the cost of providing export certification services.

T&G Global general manager of exports, Paul Scheffer, said the proposed costs would make Australian horticulture uncompetitive on a global stage, according to The Weekly Times.

www.freshfruitportal.com

 

Australian import industry squeezed

Government changes to pre-clearance inspections are having harsh effects on Australian importers.

The Overseas Pre-clearance Inspection (OPI) scheme, offered through Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) since 2001, is about to disappear.

The government department made a decision to eliminate the program in 2016 meaning importers will have to inspect and clear fruit for arrival onshore in Australia.

Previously, Australia appointed inspectors who travel to selected ports overseas to pre-clear produce as it meets phytosanitary approvals. Now, the number of inspectors is being reduced and moved back home.

A spokesperson from the DAWR told Asiafruit that the program is being phased out because on-arrival inspection provides greater opportunities for the DAWR to drive compliance and better allocate resources according to biosecurity risk.

Industry representatives are not convinced.

A member of the Australian Horticultural Exporters and Importers Association (AHEIA) told Asiafruit that wait times for onshore clearance are sitting at around 7 or 8 days, adding an extra week to their pre-order schedule.

“The retailers don’t want to hear ‘I’m sorry but we can’t get an inspection for your program,’” they said.

Industry sources told Asiafruit that Australia’s import sector is not only concerned about their business and relationships, but the flow-on effect for export deals.

“We know that in the past several of our neighbours have used non-phytosanitary issues to restrict fruit imports,” said Neil Barker, CEO at BGP International. “When they see how effective the DAWR protectionist policy has been I have no doubt they will consider adopting the policy. If an Australian grape shipment to Jakarta airport regularly spent seven days in the cargo terminal waiting for an inspection my guess is that the trade would stop.”

Dominic Jenkin, CEO of the AHEIA explained that when inspectors are placed overseas they’re able to approve produce more efficiently as multiple orders might be stationed in a single location at a major port; last year the programme operated across 75,000 tonnes of fresh fruit imports from New Zealand and the US.

The program was offered to a handful of countries, which has dwindled over the years. Currently availability is only for the USA and New Zealand on selected fruit and veg.

The DAWR said that the removal of OPI does not impact on the number of inspectors available to the department.

However, in Australia, inspectors are having to travel much longer distances between warehouses to inspect and approve. Because of the delays, importers are also having to absorb the cost and losses from shortened shelf life and storage fees to hold sealed containers while they wait for a scheduled inspector.

To curb the problem, the DAWR decided to implement a Compliance-Based Inspection (CBI) scheme last year, which was piloted during the New Zealand avocado season.

The CBI scheme means that if a product reaches a certain number of approved inspections (for avocados it’s five in a row), they will then move to a reduced inspection rate (again for avocados, inspections will reduce to one in four shipments).

“The new scheme was intended to reward importers who could achieve a good compliance history with decreased inspection rates and faster entry. To date, no importers have achieved these reduced inspection rates,” New Zealand Avocados told Asiafruit in a statement.

“An overriding reason is the difficulty of accurately identifying often globally distributed organisms (and their eggs), down to a taxonomic level to confirm they are not of quarantine concern,” they said.

The same issue appeared in 2016 when lemons and limes from the US were subject to the trial and saw backlogs of up to ten days.

While experiencing setbacks in gaining approval, a lot of the annoyance over changes stems from the where funding of the inspection program comes from.

“The frustrating thing is that it’s industry funded. So, most of the time the limitation is cost for government processes, but this is definitely not a case of that. The industry has never said ‘we’re not willing to pay for this,’” said the anonymous AHEIA member.

The DAWR sad it’s working closely with industry and trading partners to optimise compliance and minimise any disruption, while facilitating safe trade.

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit

Author: Camellia Aebischer