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Ongoing project

Table grape export readiness and market access (TG17000)

Key research provider: Australian Table Grape Association

What’s it all about?

Beginning in 2018 and complemented by a sister project with KPMG, In market insights and emergency scenario planning (TG17000), this three-year investment is continuing industry work into market access and development.

Specific activities include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Input into the maintenance of the industry’s export strategy (and future strategies), detailing market access, improvement and development priorities

  • Work to develop export training materials for growers and exporters, aligned to the export strategy, as well as maintenance of online training for crop monitors

  • Input into the development of Export Quality Standards

  • Continued facilitation of the logistics involved in export, including the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ registration and audit of export facilities

  • Other activities to develop and maintain new and existing markets, including coordination of inbound and outbound trade missions and participation in international trade shows.

The project also provides a point of contact for growers, exporters and others looking for expert industry advice in relation to the export of Australian table grapes, and is responsible for disseminating relevant information, including season updates and data on shipping and market conditions.

For more, contact the Australian Table Grape Association.

Training workshops

Compulsory workshops were conducted in major export growing regions and city centres. More than 470 growers and pest monitors attended and were presented with the latest changes to the Australian Table Grape Association (AGTA) Online Export Registration System, along with updates to all protocols from different countries.

Emphasis was placed on ensuring growers correctly label boxes for export and know how to use the online pest management training and accreditation system. Documentation has been developed and distributed to growers to support the export registration and audit process.

Key export markets include China, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, USA, the Philippines, and the UAE. International inspectors from Korea and Japan were organised during the export period.

Trade missions

Several outbound and inbound trade missions were undertaken during the reporting period.

  • An outbound table grape seminar trade mission to Japan, Korea and Vietnam was highly successful with a total attendance of nearly 300 importers, distributors and retailers. A strong media contingent was also present. This trade seminar proved worthwhile as exports to both Japan, Korea and Vietnam are exceeding last year’s comparative total of exports.
  • Inbound trade missions of importers from South Korea, China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia took place. In each trade mission, importers were taken to specific grower premises and toured their farms.
  • The ATGA also attended Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong in September 2019, followed by the China FVF the week after. As part of the ATGA trade show stand, exporters were invited to participate. Four individual exporters accepted the offer, while another six exporters had their own stands. It was a very successful event with positive outcomes to increase export trade.

Market intelligence

Information on in-market table grape volumes and prices from around the world was disseminated to all growers on a weekly basis.

The ATGA regularly attended and participated in teleconferences and meetings with government authorities to discuss market access issues and export requirements.

Almost 250 growers who registered for export to protocol markets for the coming season were physically audited by officers from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, with assistance provided by the team.

Growers were sent an updated electronic export manual which contained all protocols and work plans for the countries they registered for as well as a Standard Operating Procedure for grower exports. The department reported almost a one hundred per cent success rate for growers during their auditing (99.5%).

The team organised an out-bound trade mission to Japan, Korea and Vietnam holding trade seminars in Osaka, Seoul, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Nearly 300 importers, distributors, retailers and media personnel attended the trade seminars. A contingent of Australian growers and exporters came along on the trip to develop relationships with importers in those countries resulting in new export trade.

The early volume of exports to those countries were up on the previous year with exports to South Korea already exceeding last year’s total.

The team has also run in-bound trade missions from importers from China, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia since the last report. In each trade mission, importers were taken to specific grower premises and shown around their farms. These tours allowed discussions on supply of grapes, maturity levels, volume, frequency of supply and the specific table grape qualities the importer was after.

The Thailand trade mission included 12 major retailers from Thailand. A networking function was held at a restaurant in Mildura, where all growers and exporters were invited to attend. The function was attended by over 50 growers.  

The team also had a presence at the Taste Australia trade shows at the China Food and Vegetable trade fair in Beijing, at Gulfoods in Dubai and at Foodex in Tokyo.

Support for growers looking to export is provided on an ongoing basis as are market intelligence reports, and government liaison.

Issues arising in recent months included:

  • Additional variety access to Japan
  • Revised conditions for exports to the USA
  • Irradiation access to New Zealand
  • Acceptance of cold treatment to India
  • Import permits for Vietnam
  • Clarification of quotas from Indonesia
  • Revised on shore fumigation for China
  • Post-harvest cold treatment verification for Taiwan.


Since last update, the project team has been busy facilitating exports of table grapes to over 40 countries. The team plays a key liaison role, making sure that state and federal agencies are kept informed as well as growers.

Trade missions from China, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia have been hosted in recent months. Each mission was tailored to the needs of potential importers so particular growers were visited to allow discussions and demonstrations on issues of interest.

The team also arranged and coordinated visits by international inspectors from South Korea and Japan, here to oversee procedures and consignments. The Korean visit included daily trips to pack house premises throughout Sunraysia to enable them to carry out pre-shipment inspections. This year, 55 containers were inspected during the 10 weeks stay in Australia. This was a pleasing result, up from 15 containers the previous year.

The Japanese inspector was accompanied for a 9-day visit, to undertake an audit of the export process, facilities and documentation, as well as independently verify the Pest Free Area status of the Riverland.

Compulsory training workshops were conducted in the major export growing regions and city centres, with over 370 growers and pest monitors attending, to find out about all aspects of international market access. Officers from the Department of Agriculture were able to give updates on entry requirements to overseas markets.

Workshops were held in Victoria in Mildura and Robinvale, in Brisbane for growers from Emerald and St George and in the Swan Valley in Perth for growers in Carnarvon, South west and the Swan Valley.

Topics covered included:

  • How to use the Australian Table Grape Association Online Export Registration System
  • Changes and updates to all the protocols from different countries
  • Correct labelling of boxes for exports
  • Registration for onshore fumigation and cold treatment for the changed conditions to protocols for countries including China, Korea and Thailand
  • Requirements for shed packing and pest monitoring (including fortnightly data entry) for fruit destined for China.

A total of 245 growers have registered for export to protocol markets for the coming season.

The team is providing ongoing support to exporters on all aspects of the arrangements. Market intelligence on exports to Asian countries, in particular China, is sent to all registered growers and exporters on a weekly basis. This provides vital information to the growers and exporters to enable them to make sound economic decisions on their future exports.

A table grape trade stand was also set up at Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong in September, resulting in considerable future opportunities for export.


Here’s a snapshot of activity from the project’s initial months…

  • Export registrations: Ahead of official project contracting and the start of the most recent export season, the Australian Table Grape Association ran a series of grower export registration workshops, facilitating registrations through the industry’s online export registration system and subsequent audits.
  • Pre-shipment inspections: International inspectors from Korea and Japan were organised by the project. The Korean inspector arrived in mid-February and remained for two months, inspecting all consignments to Korea. The Japanese inspector arrived in late April to inspect shipments.
  • Keeping industry informed: During the season, market information including in-market volumes and prices of table grapes from around the world was disseminated to growers on a weekly basis. Export statistics were also presented to growers showing exports from the current season and comparison with previous years on volume and pricing. Other activities included keeping growers appraised of China’s changed table grape protocol – which now allows for onshore post-harvest fumigation, followed by a short period of cold treatment, recognition of the Riverland pest free area, as well as recognition of east-west for fruit fly.
  • Trade missions: A number of out-bound and in-bound trade missions have seen project involvement. This included a trade mission to Japan and Korea in late January, were new relationships were developed between importers and grower/exporter, as well as in-bound missions involving importers from South Korea, China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia between January and March.