AHEIA - Providing leadership to support and strengthen Australia's trade in horticultural produce.

Latest News

Registrations open for the 2021 National Biosecurity Forum

The 2021 National Biosecurity Forum will be held virtually on Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 November 2021.

Australia continues to face increasing biosecurity challenges, such as growing trade volumes, increasingly complex supply chains and climate change and variability. These factors increase the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering the country.

Hear about new and innovative approaches to managing the biosecurity challenge.

The forum this year will focus on:

  • taking a future focus - a national biosecurity strategy
  • shared responsibility and partnerships
  • preparedness.

  • The 2021 Australian Biosecurity Award winners will also be announced as part of the forum.

Click here for more

https://www.awe.gov.au/biosecurity-trade/policy/partnerships/nbc/national-biosecurity-forum

Export Development Grants

Austrade’s Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) program helps Australian businesses grow their exports in international markets. These grants encourage small to medium enterprises (SME) to market and promote their goods and services globally by providing matched funding for eligible promotional activities. They also assist representative bodies promote their SME members exports to overseas markets and train their members to be export ready.

Further details available:

https://www.grants.gov.au/Go/Show?GoUuid=f738ac98-3d70-4570-88ed-6a5bf26dbb5b

Latest IAN from DAWR - Plant Export Operations – PEMS updates

2021-54: Plant Export Operations – Plant Exports Management System updates

Purpose
This Industry Advice Notice (IAN) is to notify stakeholders of updates to the Plant Exports Management System (PEMS).

Summary of changes and key points

  • PEMS will now automatically validate the ‘Accredited Farm Block Numbers’ and ‘Accredited Packhouse Numbers’ for cherry protocol markets.
  • Vapour heat treatment (VHT) supervision and sensor calibrations for mangoes can now be recorded in PEMS. This functionality replaces the two manual forms, Vapour heat treatment sensor calibration record and Vapour heat treatment record, adding transparency and accuracy to VHT treatments.
  • A video tutorial explaining how to complete the VHT supervision and sensor calibration record is available for Authorised Officers on LearnHub.
  • AOs will have one month to familiarise themselves with the VHT process in PEMS. From 18 November 2021, all VHT supervision and sensor calibrations must be recorded in PEMS unless an exception applies.
    The horticulture inspection record has also been updated to accommodate the vapour heat treatment process in PEMS, but these changes will only appear for the relevant RFPs.

Click here for further information:

https://www.awe.gov.au/biosecurity-trade/export/controlled-goods/plants-plant-products/ian/2021/2021-54 

Australian citrus gains greater access to US

 USDA expands authorised production areas to include Queensland, Western Australia, and New South Wales

The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is expanding the production areas in Australia authorised to export fresh citrus to the US.

Under current measures, only citrus grown in Riverina (NSW), the Riverland (SA), and Sunraysia (VIC) can be exported to the US.

The three additional regions APHIS will authorise include Queensland, Western Australia, and the shires of Bourke and Narromine within New South Wales.

APHIS is also revising the conditions under which citrus from Australia can be imported. APHIS scientists prepared a pest risk assessment (PRA) and a commodity import evaluation document (CIED). The CIED identified the phytosanitary measures that could be applied to ensure citrus fruit from new areas of Australia can be safely imported without increasing the risk of introducing pests.

As such, citrus from the expanded areas must either originate from an approved production area that is free of Queensland fruit fly, Mediterranean fruit fly, and/or Lesser Queensland fruit fly, or be treated with cold treatment or other approved treatment.

An operational work plan that details the requirements under which citrus will be safely imported must also be put in place.

Furthermore, all citrus must be washed, brushed, surface disinfected in accordance with treatment schedules listed in the PPQ Treatment Manual, treated with fungicide at labelled rates, and waxed at packhouses. Imported fruit will be subject to inspection at the port of entry into the US.

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/

Author: Chris Komorek

BICON updates

BICON houses the Australian Government's Biosecurity import conditions database for more than 20,000 plants, animals, minerals and biological products. It will help you to determine what import conditions exist and if an import permit is required. Please refer to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment Importing to Australia page for more information about BICON.

Note the following recent updates:

 

Project exploring new market developments with phytosanitary irradiation

IRRADIATION is increasingly becoming the go-to option for fresh produce exporters, according to the Victorian Government.

The state has talked up the benefits of the procedure which treats fruit and vegetables for rogue bugs and diseases prior to departure.

 It comes on the back of Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) recently announcing a new domestic food regulatory measure that permits the use of irradiation as a phytosanitary treatment for all fresh fruit and vegetables (Standard 1.5.3 - Irradiation of food).

Over the past five years, Australian domestic and export trade volumes using phytosanitary irradiation have tripled in volume.

A growing list of crops including table grapes, mangoes and cherries have all had export success using irradiation as a phytosanitary treatment.

Agriculture Victoria is leading a project in conjunction with Hort Innovation with new research intended to fill gaps in the knowledge regarding pest and disease mortality, impacts on product quality and shelf life, and barriers to market access.

The project, Building capacity in irradiation - pathways to export, will be delivered by an international research consortium led by Agriculture Victoria with support from Steritech, NSW Department of Primary Industries, SA Research and Development Institute, Aerial (France), NZ Plant and Food Research, and Radservices (NZ).

The project is designed to build industry and government capability, support strategic sharing of knowledge with international trading partners, and promote acceptance of phytosanitary irradiation by those same trading partners.

Horticulture Innovation's Anthony Baker said the project should benefit growers.

"This research will address common market access needs and opportunities for many Australian horticultural crops," Mr Baker said.

"Australia is well positioned to continue leading the world in the development and application of phytosanitary irradiation."

Australian horticultural has traditionally relied on phytosanitary treatments such as cold disinfestation, methyl bromide fumigation and vapor heat, to meet market access requirements for domestic and international trade.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) recently announced a new domestic food regulatory measure that permits the use of irradiation as a phytosanitary treatment for all fresh fruit and vegetables (Standard 1.5.3 - Irradiation of food).

According to a statement from Agriculture Victoria: "Irradiation as a phytosanitary treatment is fast, chemical free, cost-effective and potentially 100 per cent carbon neutral by using renewable energy sources however it is not recognised by many of Australia and New Zealand's trading partners."

"The pathway to international acceptance for phytosanitary irradiation requires that industry, government and our international trading partners acknowledge that irradiation as a phytosanitary measure is not only effective against key pests and diseases but poses no risk to human health."

"All this whilst retaining product quality and shelf life better than traditional measures are able."

Australia has been a leader in the development and application of phytosanitary irradiation for the past 15 years, establishing common food standards with New Zealand and negotiating trade protocols to eight different export markets, including the USA, Vietnam and Thailand.

Source: Good Fruit and Vegetables

Latest IAN ( Industry Advice Notice) advice from DAWR

Latest Department of Agriculture advice notices are as follows:

2021-47: Horticulture – Applications for the export of Mainland apples and pears to Thailand

https://www.agriculture.gov.au/export/controlled-goods/plants-plant-products/ian/2021/2021-47

2021-48: Horticulture – Horticulture – Citrus packhouse applications for exports to protocol markets in 2022

https://www.agriculture.gov.au/export/controlled-goods/plants-plant-products/ian/2021/2021-48

2021-51: Plant Exports Management System – Communications workflow coming in late October

https://www.agriculture.gov.au/export/controlled-goods/plants-plant-products/ian/2021/2021-51

2021-52: Plant Export Operations – Food establishment registration requirements for products exported to China

https://www.agriculture.gov.au/export/controlled-goods/plants-plant-products/ian/2021/2021-52 

NSW Going Global Export Program

Eligible NSW businesses can apply for free support to expand to new international markets.

About the Program
Run by Investment NSW, this Program supports eligible NSW businesses to reach new customers in new international markets.

The Program supports businesses in the following industries/sectors:

  • Food and Beverage, Agri-Food, Processed Food
  • Health and Medtech
  • Technology, Cyber Security, Fintech, Edtech or Space.


Features
The Program is intensive and requires participants to be actively engaged for 2 to 6 months.

Participants will have access to:

  • online workshops
  • business matching
  • coaching from a dedicated Export Adviser from Investment NSW
  • access to the NSW Trade and Investment Commissioner in-market
  • support from industry experts
  • training in marketing and e-commerce.

The Program offers participants:

  • an understanding of market dynamics 
  • practical approaches for doing business in the target market
  • opportunities to identify and engage with new customers in the target market 
  • opportunities for networking with global businesses and entrepreneurs
  • opportunities for global promotion
  • opportunities for peer interaction with the businesses in your cohort.


Eligibility
To be eligible, your business must:

  • have headquarters in NSW
  • be export-capable and export-ready
  • have between 3 and 199 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees
  • have a valid ABN (Australian Business Number) registered for NSW
  • have a commercial product or service
  • have a website featuring the product or service (marketing and promotional costs might be reimbursed through the NSW Export Assistance Grant)
  • be prepared to adapt the product or service for the market
  • have a product or service that is produced primarily in NSW
  • be willing to travel to Sydney for events and to the selected market (where and when COVID-19 restrictions permit travel), and must cover their own travel expenses
  • not be considered a trader (meaning the Program is for businesses that produce and add value in NSW).

Further information:

https://www.investment.nsw.gov.au/living-working-and-business/nsw-going-global-export-program/

 

Women in Produce: Lesley Shield

Leading the way

Newly appointed chief executive of the Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association (AHEIA), Lesley Shield, is eager to see the next generation take up career opportunities in the horticulture industry.

Congratulations on being appointed chief executive of AHEIA. Tell us about the role and your ambitions?

Lesley Shield: The Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Industry Association advocates with foreign and domestic government departments along with industry stakeholders on behalf of Australian fresh produce exporters and importers. Issues we cover can include quarantine and trade protocols, service delivery from DAWE and costs surrounding those services or just keeping members informed about overseas markets and their competition. Part of my job description is to increase the AHEIA’s membership, and I believe strong communication with our members could be the key to this.

How did you get involved in the fresh produce industry, and what other roles have you held previously?

LS: I initially began working in the Brisbane Market in administration in the late ‘70s (in those days, it was called a Girl Friday). The company I worked for was exporting and importing to and from New Zealand.

I did the documentation and even helped with the loading of airfreight pallets. That company sold out to another importer/exporter and I moved to the new company doing their documentation and assisting with inspections.

I was then approached to create an export division for a market wholesale company, and I managed the export division until I moved to Asia with my husband where I lived for 12 years in Hong Kong, Thailand and Shanghai. Whilst in Thailand, I helped manage an Active Selling Programme in supermarkets. When I returned from Asia, I was approached to be general manager of a New Zealand export company. I was based in Brisbane, managing their New Zealand exports to Australia and Asia.

What do you believe poses the biggest challenge for Australia’s horticulture industry in the future?

LS: Australia is in the unenviable position of being a high-cost supplier compared to other countries.

Therefore it is imperative industry communicates to the global consumer the advantages of purchasing Australian produce with our superior tasting products being just one of these attributes.

“The horticultural industry has great career opportunities… with the potential to travel the world”

With challenges come opportunities, where is the potential for Australia’s exporters?

LS: Some of the challenges for the Australian industry are to fast-track new markets on the back of FTAs and additionally fine-tune some of the current anomalies that exist within the phytosanitary agreements. For example, some of the harsh cold sterilisation treatments for citrus.

What’s one thing you’d like to change about the industry you work in?

LS: Focusing on encouraging the younger generation to see that the horticultural industry has great career opportunities which encompass many areas, such as technology, farming, agronomy, global marketing as well as the potential to travel the world.

Tell us about your proudest achievement to date.

LS: Probably the Active Selling Programme in Thailand. I saw men and women of all ages, spruiking, sorting, packaging and selling imported products in stores. Most had never done that before and didn’t know how to handle fresh produce. They became confident and proud of their work and at times competitive with each other in a fun way to see who would sell the most of a particular product. Some even decided to use the money from their active selling role to study and moved on to things they had dreamt of doing.

What advice would you give to other women, either already in the industry or looking to enter it?

LS: This industry takes a lot of your time and energy. You need to be prepared for it to be part of your personal life. It can be frustrating but also fulfilling. The fruit industry is a small industry where everyone either knows someone or has heard of someone in the industry. I have always found that most people are willing to help when asked. I have never seen myself as a ‘woman’ in the industry but as a person doing a job.

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

LS: Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. I have found that every day is different in this industry and time can get away from you.

Author: Chris Komorek, Staff Journalist, Asiafruit and Produce Plus

Original article: Asiafruit magazine

2021-46: Plant Exports – Updates to the department’s website

An Industry Advice Notice (IAN) has been issued to advise industry that the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is updating its website.

Summary of changes and key points

On 18 October 2021, we will be merging our 3 departmental websites:

  • awe.gov.au
  • agriculture.gov.au
  • environment.gov.au

All existing content will be moved to awe.gov.au.

There will be temporary redirects in place so you can still find what you’re looking for.

Background

We are transforming our website as part of a multi-year, user-centred project to improve the user experience.

The first stage of the transformation involves merging the existing agriculture.gov.au and environment.gov.au websites into the new awe.gov.au site from 18 October 2021.

Temporary redirects will be in place from the old websites to the new site.

Over the next few years, further engagement with website users will ensure the content is easy to use.

Enhanced functionality, the most up-to-date content and a better user experience will be the key outcomes of this transformation project.

Read more about transforming your digital experience.

Industry responsibilities

All website users should update their bookmarks and get familiar with the new navigation and layout of awe.gov.au. 

You can follow our social media channels to stay up to date with progress on the website transformation.

Contact information

If you have any questions regarding this IAN please email Plant Export Communications.

David Ironside
Assistant Secretary
Plant Export Operations Branch

AHEIA announces new CEO

The Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association (AHEIA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Lesley Shield as CEO from September 2021.

With more than 30 years involvement in the horticultural industry in Australia, New Zealand and Asia, Lesley brings a wealth of experience to the CEO role of AHEIA.

Lesley’s career has encompassed the development and management of successful fresh produce import and export trading operations based in Australia and New Zealand, focusing on the Asian markets.

During the 12 years she spent living in Asia, she took a leading role in the development and execution of the very successful Retail Active Selling Programme which was launched in selected retail stores in Thailand in 2005 and is still operating today.

Lesley has no doubt that her understanding of the supply chain from growers to the export to consumers will assist the Board of AHEIA in providing a strong platform of representation and growth for its members.

Lesley is looking forward to working with AHEIA members, board of directors and Australian government departments, to assist in problem solving and communicating any concerns our members may have regarding their products or markets. 

On behalf of the Board, Chairman Joe Saina would like to sincerely thank our outgoing CEO, Dr Andréa Magiafoglou.  Andréa held the position of CEO these past three years most of which was during very challenging times.  We acknowledge what she has achieved both at a member level, and AHEIA organisational level.  Andréa’s high-level representation has put our association in a good stead with industry stakeholders and regulators.