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Asylum seekers help to fill hort labour shortage in regional Victoria

This year has been particularly challenging for producers to find workers.

COVID-19 restrictions have caused a collapse in the number of working holiday visa holders — the backpacking workforce crucial to the agricultural industry.

Working holiday visas have fallen from about 140,000 at the end of 2019 to about 50,000 now.

The National Farmers Federation (NFF) estimates there will be a shortage of 26,000 agricultural workers when demand peaks around March.

This inspired university  Aviva White, who volunteers at the Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project (BASP) in Melbourne. 

"We noticed a lot of coverage within the media about huge labour shortages in the agriculture industry, that there was lots of fruit to be picked and lots of jobs on farms available," she said.

That led to a collaboration with Regional Australians for Refugees (RAR), who heard about jobs going at Koala Cherries in Yarck.

Read the full article

Source : https://www.abc.net.au/

Author: Norman Hermant 

 

 

Regional trade deal to boost export opportunities for Aussie farmers and businesses

Joint media release with:
The Hon Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minister
15 November 2020
Australian farmers and businesses are set to benefit from better export opportunities with the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement between Australia and 14 other Indo-Pacific countries.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the signing of this long-awaited agreement signalled our region’s shared commitment to open trade and investment, despite the challenges of COVID-19.

“Our trade policy is all about supporting Australian jobs, boosting export opportunities and ensuring an open region with even stronger supply chains. RCEP builds on our trade successes and is good news for Australian businesses,” Prime Minister Morrison said.

“With one in five Australian jobs reliant on trade, the RCEP Agreement will be crucial as Australia and the region begin to rebuild from the COVID‑19 pandemic.

“This agreement covers the fastest growing region in the world and, as RCEP economies continue to develop and their middle classes grow, it will open up new doors for Australian farmers, businesses and investors.”

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said RCEP would be the world’s largest free trade agreement and would improve export opportunities for Australian farmers and businesses, especially in the services sector.

“This deal will further integrate Australian exporters into a booming part of the globe, with RCEP countries making up nearly 30 per cent of world GDP and the world´s population,” Minister Birmingham said.

“RCEP has been driven by the ten ASEAN nations, who collectively constitute Australia’s second largest two-way trading partner and have successfully brought Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea into this regional trading block with them.

“This agreement may have taken eight years to negotiate but it could not have come at a more important time given the scale of global economic and trade uncertainty.

“Economic cooperation of this scale sends a strong signal that our region is committed to the principles of open trade for the post COVID-19 recovery, just as we advanced them during the previous years of strong economic growth.

“Greater openness within our region, as well as the greater integration of value chains and more common rules of origin which this deal delivers, will make it easier for Australian businesses and investors to operate throughout our region, helping Australia to continue to grow our exports.

“There are particular gains for Australian providers within the financial services sector, education, health, engineering and other professional services, who can become better integrated within the region and have more access within RCEP countries.

“Australia is committed to fully ratifying RCEP as soon as possible so Australian farmers, businesses and investors can start to access the benefits of this agreement. It will also be an inclusive agreement, with the door open for others, especially India, to join if and when they are ready.”

Australia will also commit $46 million to provide technical assistance and capacity building to help eligible ASEAN countries implement their RCEP commitments, ensuring RCEP delivers on its full potential.

When finalised, the main benefits for Australia will be:

  • A new single set of rules and procedures for accessing preferential tariffs in any of the 15 RCEP markets
  • New scope for trade in services throughout the region including across telecommunications, professional and financial services.
  • Improved mechanisms for tackling non-tariff barriers including in areas such as customs procedures, quarantine and technical standards.
  • Greater investment certainty for businesses.
  • Rules on e-commerce to make it easier for businesses to trade online.
  • A common set of rules on intellectual property.
  • Agreed rules of origin that will increase the competitiveness of Australian inputs into regional production chains.

  • For more on the Regional Economic Partnership Agreement visit:

https://www.dfat.gov.au/trade/agreements/not-yet-in-force/rcep 

AHEIA appoints new Deputy Chair

AHEIA held their AGM on Thursday 26th November. Due to the Covid crisis, it was a virtual event, attended by members only.
The Chair (Joe Saina) and the CEO (Andréa Magiafoglou) thanked members for attending. Joseph Saina noted that despite the challenges of 2020, the story of horticulture for the year 2019-2020 is a positive one and exports have grown and the Association fared well.
“Advocacy and industry representation take up most of our time and resources. Relationships with members and stakeholders continues to improve due to the great job done by the CEO”.
The CEO said that the year ending June 2020 has left an indelible mark on horticultural exporters and importers, with effects likely to impact the sector for many years to come. With significant airfreight capacity shortfalls, shipping delays, port congestion and market uncertainty, among many other difficulties.
“I’ve seen AHEIA members navigating disrupted global supply chains that are unparalleled in the history of the Association. The resilience and fortitude displayed by members throughout this time has been nothing short of astounding. These efforts are recognised, valued and serve to motivate us daily in our continuing work to support members through this time”
Ms Magiafoglou said that in late March, prior to the inception of the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM), AHEIA undertook a membership survey to better understand member outlook and key concerns arising from supply chain disruptions in the early days of the pandemic. The information provided by members and ongoing work with Austrade was instrumental in developing the business case within horticulture to demonstrate the real and vital need for Federal support for airfreight reliant perishable products.

“Work in this area will be ongoing for the Association; cargo capacity is likely to remain stymied by the lack of passenger movement for several years to come. The funding support provided by the Federal Government through IFAM has certainly assisted exporters move perishable product into key markets. However, it remains important for exporters, industry groups and government bodies to continue working together and coordinate viable strategies to utilise this mechanism most effectively.”

The CEO said that sea freight has also not been immune to the impacts of COVID-19, with blank sailings, congestion surcharges, rising costs and port disruptions leading to a higher risk profile across the sector. These are member concerns that have been raised across several forums; future freight assistance support packages, and any re-imagined tranche of IFAM post June 2021, should reflect the breadth of COVID-19 shipping constraints impacting trade outcomes for both air and sea.
While the 2019/20 export data indicates a slowdown in growth trends, the numbers only reflect a
small proportion of time when supply chain disruptions were widespread.

“Despite this, data across 2019/20 landed at a volume and value that exceeded totals for 2018/19. Strong export volumes from table grapes certainly helped bolster outcomes, but delays associated with the issuance of import permits led to a close to 40% reduction in trade to Indonesia for this commodity, and the sobering outcome of unrealised export opportunities and real financial impacts at the business level. “

“The Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) entered into force on 5 July 2020, and we look to this agreement, as well as newly signed and upcoming FTAs to enhance our two-way trade opportunities with trading partners.”

The AGM included the appointment of board members, Cameron Carter (Seeka Australia) has been appointed new deputy chair, and Joseph Saina will continue in his capacity of Chairman. Continuing board members for 2020/21 include Heath Jakeman, Joseph Tullio, Mark Pidgeon, Hugh Molloy, Brian Ceresa and Mark Hall.

AHEIA thanked Chris Fairless, who has stepped down from the board. The Chairman and CEO conveyed their thanks to Joe Tullio who has been the Deputy Chair of the association since 2016. Joe will continue to sit on the board.

 

 

 

Health crisis continues for Exporters and Importers

The 2019/20 trade data for Australian fresh fruit and vegetable exports is now in; with combined fruit and vegetable exports reaching a total of 762,840 tonnes (up 4.1 per cent) valued at $1.84 billion. This result is a record breaker for the seventh consecutive year and was buoyed by strong outcomes for fruit exports at 547,137 tonnes (up 9.5 percent from 2018/19) and helped buffer a 7.4 per cent volume reduction in vegetable exports over the same time period.

Across fresh fruit, China remains the most prominent export market destination by both volume and value (156,372 tonnes; $536.5 million). However, export volume growth has eased from the substantial increases seen in previous years when strong gains in table grape and citrus exports coincided with new and/or improved market access conditions for stonefruit.

Japan has slid into the number two market for Australian fresh fruit exports by both value and volume (59,655 tonnes; $132.6 million), edging out Hong Kong which eased 4 and 4.8 per cent respectively; a reduction contributed by increased direct trade to China. Overall fruit export volumes to Japan increased by 9 per cent during 2019/20, with melon exports continuing to rise since entering the market in 2016. Singapore and Indonesia round out the top 5 markets for Australian fresh fruit exports, with Indonesia recording a 23 per cent decrease in volume driven by challenges with import licensing on table grape exports to this market.

Full year trade results for fresh vegetable exports indicate a 7.4 per cent easing in volume to 215,700 tonnes, however value remained steadier at $290 million; 3 per cent down from the previous year. Singapore remains the leading market by value (at $52.4 million), and second largest by volume after the United Arab Emirates. Of all fresh vegetable exports to Singapore, carrots accounted for around 48 per cent by volume at 13,500 tonnes and remain relatively steady compared to export volumes from previous years. Pumpkins lifted 24 per cent by volume, while broccoli exports to Singapore declined 30 per cent, mainly driven by challenging production conditions in 2019 and Covid-19 supply chain disruptions in 2020. The United Arab Emirates, Australia’s largest fresh vegetable export market by volume remained relatively steady at 36,000 tonnes at $34.2 million. Onions to the UAE lifted to 3,500 tonnes, a 78 per cent increase from 2018/19, with carrots continuing to contribute more than 80 per cent of all Australian fresh vegetable exports to the UAE.

The above trade results for 2019/20 would not be complete without a brief commentary on Covid-19 impacts on fresh horticultural exports. The data outcomes reported above only partly reflect Covid-19 disruptions. Various commodity groups are affected differently, and impacts shift as the landscape changes and seasons progress. As commented on previously, and to restate what is well known within industry, supply chain disruptions globally have created a challenging environment for fresh horticultural exporters and importers. However, a unifying shift towards coordination across horticultural industry bodies, supply chain participants, and Federal and State Governments has placed Australian exporters in good stead to optimise and expand on available opportunities to counter these ongoing challenges. The lessons and solutions we apply today will support and refine how we conduct business tomorrow, and ultimately provide a stronger and more resilient horticultural export industry in years to come.

The Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association is looking forward to holding the next Industry Forum in early 2021. The Industry Forum is designed to connect members, update industry on the state of the global market and hear directly from Australian Government representatives involved in horticulture trade. Previous years have attracted leading decision-makers involved in Australia’s international fresh produce trade with vibrant discussions covering key issues facing the sector. The Industry Forum is open to members and non-members alike. More information will be provided once details are finalised.

 

Source: Brisbane Markets – October 2020

https://issuu.com/effigy/docs/fs70_winter20?fr=sZmEwYTY3ODEz 

 

 

Horticultural export fee price hikes on hold

A July 1 start date for new export fee price hikes of more than 40 per cent has been scrapped as the Federal Government diverts its attention to COVID-19.

THE introduction of a raft of new export fees and charges for Australia’s fresh produce sector due to come into effect next month have been delayed indefinitely.
The Department of Agriculture had flagged July 1 for the introduction of new export costs for the horticulture industry.
It would have seen an average increase of 44 per cent across all fees and levies, with some charges to increase by 277 per cent.
A Department of Agriculture spokesman said because industry consultation planned for March was unable to go ahead due to COVID-19 restrictions, “we no longer expect changes to the current charges from July 1, 2020. We are monitoring the situation and will provide an update … once the next steps have been determined.”
The Department of Agriculture has been working on a new cost-recovery model for export certification services since 2015 after operating at a multimillion-dollar deficit for a number of years.
However prominent industry bodies, including the Australian Horitcultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association and AusVeg, have described the proposed model as a step too far, with grievances including an expanded cost recovery base – including $182,000 to subsidise a network of counsellors to assist during trade disruptions – and the disproportionate level of cost recovery comparative to other government departments.
If the proposed model was adopted, 48 per cent of the Department of Agriculture’s costs would be paid for by farmers and exporters, compared to the Department of Trade, where 10 per cent of its costs were funded by industry, or the Department of Industry and Science, where 15 per cent of its costs were paid for by industry.
AHEIA chief executive Andrea Magiafoglou said fruit, vegetable and flower exporters were already grappling with changes wrought by COVID-19, “to introduce high fees at this time would be very unwelcome”.

Source: The Weekly Times

Author: ALEXANDRA LASKIE

Australian horticulture export body says proposed cost rises will be unmanageable for farmers

Australia's peak horticulture export body has called on the Federal Government to reconsider plans to increase the costs of export certification services.

Eleven industry signatories, comprising key industry representative bodies from exporting horticultural industries and members of the Department’s Horticulture Export Industry Consultative Committee were united to oppose the substantial increases to export certification in a joint submission to the Department of Agriculture (DoA). The Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association (AHEIA) has united with other horticultural industry bodies to oppose these changes.

"The cost increases, of over 40 per cent for export certification services which are proposed by the Department of Agriculture in the Cost Recovery Implementation Statement Plant Exports Certification 2019-20 (CRIS), are unmanageable for the horticulture industries," AHEIA CEO Andréa Magiafoglou said. "Australian horticulture is one of the least subsidised in the OECD and horticultural exporters operate in a high-cost environment influenced by labour challenges, escalating water costs and supply chain pathways overlaid by security requirements."

The changes follow public consultation with industry that closed on 31 January 2020, but Ms Magiafoglou says it comes at a time where farmers and exporters are also facing the challenges of ongoing drought and bushfires impacting key production areas.

"The proposed changes will increase the cost of compliance by over 40 per cent and will critically impact Australia’s competitiveness and reduce export growth," she said. "We call upon the Minister for Agriculture to support the horticulture industry by not proceeding with the proposed increases to export certification. "The AHEIA understands the need for export certification requirements, as well as the need to fund the biosecurity framework to protect Australia’s borders. The AHEIA also recognises the need for the government to recover the cost of delivering these services – as long as they can be provided efficiently and charged at competitive rates."

She added: "The DoA currently recovers 48 per cent of its budget from Australian farmers and exporters which is excessive and inconsistent with other similar departments in Australia and internationally – Austrade recovers 10 per cent of its $245 million budget; the Department of Industry, Innovation & Science recovers 15 per cent of a total $508 million; and the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries recovers only 29 per cent of its total NZ$715 million budget."

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment told FreshPlaza it is reviewing cost recovery arrangements for food and plant export certification, to ensure export certification services are sustainably funded.

"It also supports Australia’s reputation as a safe, reliable supplier of high-quality food and plant products," a departmental spokesperson said. "Export fees and charges have not been revised since 2015. Biosecurity and export certification fees and charges must be adjusted to address the actual cost of delivering regulatory activities. This will ensure the exports certification system remains fit for purpose and able to support Australia’s agricultural exports."

Among the recommendations, the AHEIA has called on the Minister for Agriculture to not proceed with implementing the proposed increase in the fees and levies in the Cost Recovery Implementation Statement Plant Exports Certification 2019-20, and the Commonwealth budget allocation be increased to ensure that sufficient funding is provided to support policy development for the agriculture sector in the future.

"DoA must separate all policy functions from cost recovery to ensure integrity in the development of policy, the appropriate allocation of policy resources to Government priorities and removal of the cost on the industry for policy development," Ms Magiafoglou said. "Industry is calling on the Commonwealth Government budget allocation to reflect the Prime Minister’s stated objective of agriculture becoming a $100 billion industry by 2030, and ensure that sufficient funding is provided to support the policy development for the agriculture sector. Implementing the proposed cost recovery model now will pre-empt the Government’s agriculture strategy and limit the future growth of Australian agriculture."

For more information
Andréa Magiafoglou
Australian Horticultural Exporters and Importers Association
admin@horticulturetrade.com.au
www.horticulturetrade.com.au

Publication date: Mon 24 Feb 2020

Author: Matt Russell
© FreshPlaza.com

Fruit, vegetable and nut industry reject proposed hikes to export fees

Australian fresh produce exporters say proposed new export fees would “cripple” the growth of Australia’s fruit, vegetable and nut exports.

AUSTRALIA’S fresh produce industry has rejected a revamped Federal Government program overseeing export fees and charges, warning price hikes of more than 40 per cent for some services would render Australian produce globally uncompetitive.
The nation’s notoriously fragmented horticulture industry has made a united call for the Department of Agriculture to scrap its two proposed options for export fees and charges that would see the Department recover almost half of its entire annual budget from Australian farmers and exporters.
The Department of Agriculture has been working on a revised cost-recovery model for export certification services since 2015 after operating at a deficit for a number of years.
The latest iteration released last month proposes two models that would each raise $12.2 million from levies and fees-for-services, with fee hikes of 44-277 per cent.
The amount raised covers a wider cost base than the current model, with an additional $1.53 million included to fund new enforcement activities, scientific and technical advice and an overseas counsellor network.
AusVeg public affairs manager Tyson Cattle described both options as “unmanageable for the vegetable and horticultural industries”.
“We understand the need for export certification requirements, as well as the need to fund the biosecurity framework to protect Australia’s borders … as long as they can be provided efficiently and charged at competitive rates,” Mr Cattle said. “The difficult conditions faced by the horticulture industry currently, including the worst drought in decades, and bushfires affecting production regions and freight of produce to market, make these cost increases especially hard for growers to absorb and remain competitive.”
Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association’s chief executive Andrea Magiafoglou said cost recovery in agriculture has extended beyond fee for service into cost recovery for policy development.
“Australian horticulture is one of the least subsidised in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and horticultural exporters operate in a high-cost environment influenced by labour challenges, escalating water costs and supply chain pathways overlaid by security requirements,” Ms Magiafoglou said.
An Agriculture Department spokesman said fees and export arrangements needed to increase to cover the cost of delivering regulatory activities.

Source: LEXANDRA LASKIE, The Weekly Times
February 12, 2020

Australian horticulture exports to China expected to take a hit

Australian fruit exports to China are predicted to take a hit as fears of coronavirus’ spread reduce flights and stymie Chinese trade.

AUSTRALIAN horticulture exporters are bracing for a hit to trade as fears of novel coronavirus’ spread slow orders from Chinese importers as cities there close down and shoppers stay home.

The fallout from the rapidly spreading virus is predicted to hit exporters who sell to Australia’s biggest trading partner in coming weeks.

Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association chief executive Andrea Magiafoglou said many exporters were already looking for alternative markets to sell their produce. “We have some exporters who have a lack of orders (from China) coming through, and airfreight flights have been reduced,” she said.

“One of our main concerns is the logistics of moving products around once they do arrive in China.”

Qantas will suspend direct flights to mainland China from February 9, while the Department of Foreign Affairs has revised its travel advice for China to “do not travel” as cases of the deadly virus climb.

Last week the Department of Health warned Australians to avoid contact with wild or farm animals to help prevent the spread of the virus. If has since retracted the advice, with a spokesperson telling The Weekly Times there was currently no evidence that livestock or companion animals such as dogs and cats could be infected.

“However it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with animals,” the spokesperson said.

Coronavirus is believed to have started in a food market that sells meat, poultry and fish as well as Chinese delicacies such as live reptiles and wild game, in Wuhan, in early December.

Scientists have suggested the most likely initial host of the infectious disease was bats, and potentially mirroring the spread of SARS — the disease it is so closely resembles — from bats to Asian palm civets, a wild animal bred in China for consumption.

Australia’s Department of Agriculture has continued to allay fears. “While this virus seems to have emerged from an unknown animal source in China, it is now spreading from person-to-person, and contact with people is the main route of infection,” a spokesperson said.

 Source: ALEXANDRA LASKIE, The Weekly Times - February 4, 2020

 

Growers and exporters fight proposed new charges

Prices of some exporting fees for fruit, vegetable, nut and flower could almost triple under a proposed government scheme.

A FEDERAL Government plan to raise export costs for fruit, vegetables, nuts and flowers is now more than two years behind schedule, with the latest iteration attracting industry backlash over a near tripling of some prices and the inclusion of new charges.
Mounting pressure from horticulture bodies has led the Department of Agriculture to extend its deadline for public consultation on a new horticulture export scheme to early January. The first draft was released in 2015.
The extension will allow the group — tipped to include at least eight of the nation’s biggest horticultural associations — to craft a joint submission calling for a complete reworking of the Government’s export cost-recovery arrangements.
The proposed model would see the exporter levy increase 275 per cent, the cost of a phytosanitary certificate jump from $36 to $115 and registration fees to rise 47 per cent.
New costs announced in the 2018-19 Federal Budget would cover scientific and technical advice, support for detained consignments and enforcement activities, adding $1.53 million to the scheme’s cost base.
Australian Horticultural Exporters’ Association chief executive Andréa Magiafoglou said the changes could “critically impact” exporters’ competitiveness.
AusVeg spokesman Tyson Cattle said the peak body for vegetable and potato growers wanted greater transparency.
“We’re not against cost recovery, but we want to make sure it’s fair and equitable,” Mr Cattle said.
“Our view is, given that horticulture is in its infancy in terms of exports, there needs to be some time for the industry to fully mature, so we don’t want any impediments to growth.”
The Government is eager for the proposed model to get ministerial approval so the new fees can be introduced on July 1 next year.
The current scheme is racking up losses of more than $6.3 million.
A Department of Agriculture spokesman said the Government had engaged widely.
“We are seeking to recover the expense of functions that are already being delivered to or on behalf of industry,” he said. “The price increases will ensure the department is sustainably recovering the full cost of the regulation activity.”

 

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

Exports rise in value, volume

The 2018/19 trade figures are now in and the results speak for themselves. Fresh horticulture exports have exceeded expectations yet again, with the sixth record-breaking year in a row. Fresh fruit and vegetable exports surpassed $1.6 billion, representing a 20% increase in value and 8% improvement in volume from the previous year.

Table grapes have been the standout commodity, with over half a billion dollars of fruit exported and achieving the title of the first fruit commodity to reach this mark. Vegetable exports rose a solid 10%, with onions regaining ground and achieving export volumes not seen for several years. More recently, an excellent season is currently being reported for Queensland mandarins with high quality fruit and strong prices. We expect this will bolster trade export volumes over the coming year for this commodity.

China has maintained its position as the number one trading partner for fresh Australian fruit by both volume and value. Table grapes significantly contributed to this result, however improved pathways for both summerfruit and cherries have helped solidify this trade destination. For fresh vegetable exports, Singapore took out the top position for value, while carrot exports to United Arab Emirates pushed this market to the number one position for volume.

Half a year has now passed since enhanced air cargo security measures were implemented. Reports coming in from industry members and participants of the Air Cargo Security Advisory Forum (ACSIAF) held earlier this year indicate the transition was smoother than expected with no major impediments with the exception of higher operational costs.

Around the Brisbane ports, some stevedore and shipping line problems associated with capacity issues have been experienced, however these are hoped to be addressed prior to next year.

Moving forward, the AHEIA is preparing to host industry information-exchange meetings in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne markets for members, exporters and importers alike. More information will be provided on this on due course. We hope to see and hear your views on issues affecting your businesses.

Author: Andréa Magiafoglou (CEO Australia Horticultural Exporters' and Importers' Association)

Source: Brisbane Markets Fresh Source Magazine

Australian exporters denounce fees

Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association criticises a decision to up export certification fees


The Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association (AHEIA) has joined other industry bodies in condemning a proposal increasing fees and charges for export certification activities.

According to AHEIA, Australia’s Federal Department of Agriculture is proposing increases as much as 277 per cent for some certification activities.

The association says the changes would restrict the government’s commitment to enable Australian agriculture to become a A$100bn (US$68bn) sector by 2030.

Andréa Magiafoglou, chief executive of AHEIA, said the proposals reduce the competitiveness of the Australian horticultural industry.

“The Department of Agriculture has a responsibility to develop and implement programmes that support a more profitable, more resilient and a more sustainable agricultural sector that will in turn, help drive a stronger Australian economy,” Magiafoglou said.

“These proposed increases will have a vastly detrimental effect on horticultural exports, reducing the ability to compete globally and the impact will be felt all the way back to the farm gate.”

Citrus Australia is another industry body opposed to the changes, it said these fees will cost the average grower tens of thousands of dollars before they have even exported a single carton.

Joseph Saina, chairman of AHEIA, said the association recognised the Department of Agriculture had costs cost to meet, but there was no indication of how the money would be used.

“Across the board and based on the volumes and proposed fee hikes proposed by the department, this represents a phenomenal A$3.8m (US$2.6m) revenue increase for the department,” Saina said.

“This is without clear indication of where the money will be spent, nor providing any assurance for an improvement in service standards which have impeded export growth to date.”

AHEIA is preparing a detailed response to government and encouraged its members to provide input before the consultation period closes on 10 December.

 

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/produceplus Author: Liam O’Callaghan

Australian importers and exporters gather

Over 50 stakeholders discuss key issues at annual AHEIA forum in Melbourne

Some of the leading decision-makers involved in Australia’s international fresh produce trade gathered in Melbourne yesterday for the Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association (AHEIA) Industry Forum.

A wide-ranging programme covered some of the key issues facing the sector, including biosecurity, regulatory processes and improved market access.

Senator Bridget McKenzie, Australian minister for agriculture, delivered the opening address via video link. The morning session continued with presentations from David Ironside, Deb Langford, Mick Mihalenko and Malcolm Keen from the Australian Department of Agriculture.

Following a break for lunch, the afternoon session began with an examination of trends in global fresh produce trade through a presentation from Wayne Prowse of Fresh Intelligence Consulting. Prowse told the audience that 83m tonnes of fresh produce was traded across the globe in 2018, with Australia exporting some 499,521 tonnes of fresh fruit and 232,991 tonnes of fresh vegetables.

Prowse said over 60 per cent of Australian exports were shipped directly to protocol markets in 2018. China led the way in terms of market share, with 34 per cent of Australian fresh produce exports destined for the People’s Republic.

The acceptance of irradiation as an approved phytosanitary treatment under several new and renegotiated protocols is being viewed as a key driver for Australia’s export growth, particularly in Asia. Ben Reilly of Steritech, a company that has pioneered irradiation treatment in Australia, told the audience that his company has seen a substantial lift in the volume of fruit it handles across all categories over the past 12 months.

The demand has been so great that Steritech has now developed a second treatment centre on the outskirts of Melbourne. The new facility will provide better access to irradiation treatment for crops predominantly produced in south-east Australia, such as cherries and table grapes, while its proximity to Melbourne Airport (25km away) ensures a short transit time for airfreight.

The forum rounded out with a presentation from AHEIA chief executive Andréa Magiafoglou, who outlined the association’s key objectives for the year ahead. Magiafoglou said the forum remained an important date on the calendar for AHEIA members.

“The AHEIA AGM and Industry Forum are designed to connect members, update industry on the state of the global market and hear directly from Australian Government representatives involved in horticulture trade,” Magiafoglou explained. “This year attracted over 50 stakeholders, and speakers covered a variety of topics spanning global trade data, and regulatory processes in horticulture trade.”

 

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

Author: Matthew Jones