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Ongoing project

Vegetable industry export program (VG16061)

Key research provider: AUSVEG

What’s it all about?

Beginning in mid-2017, this project will position the industry to achieve the target of growing exports by 40 per cent – to the value of $315 million – by 2020. This target was announced in 2017, with the release of the Vegetable Industry Export Market Development Strategy 2020. You can read more about the strategy here and can contact AUSVEG on (03) 9882 0277 to access a copy of the full strategy document.

Expanding on previous export development work, activities under the project broadly include market development and market access work, plus export readiness, training and education activities for growers and other stakeholders, to prepare the industry to take advantage of export opportunities.

The Vegetable Industry Export Program project has been impacted by COVID-19, with domestic and international travel restrictions in place. While market development activities such as inbound and outbound trade missions have been either cancelled or deferred, AUSVEG continues to facilitate connections between international buyers and Australian growers.

As reported by AUSVEG in Vegetables Australia (p44-45), total vegetable exports in the first half of 2020 declined slightly compared to the same period in 2019. Based on data from the Global Trade Atlas there was a slight dip of 6.6 per cent in vegetable export value, from $139.1 million to $129.9 million.

Enquiries from fresh produce importers in a range of export markets remained strong for several staple vegetable export products, with freight and logistics connectivity essential for grower certainty. During this difficult time, growers have continued to work with AUSVEG to resolve freight and logistics difficulties and market access issues. Some chose to transition to sea freight due to upward cost pressures and schedule limitations leading to reduced air freight capacity.

A range of new market access applications are being developed to comply with the new Independent Market Access Assessment Panel (IMAAP) format. With the next IMAAP meeting likely to be scheduled for November 2020, an application for pumpkins to South Korea is in the final stages of preparation and a range of additional applications are under development.

AUSVEG and the Export Council of Australia launched a new online/e-learning training program for aspiring vegetable exporters. The Export Fundamentals for Australian Fruit & Vegetable Growers: From Farmgate to International Markets online training course has bene made available for National vegetable levy paying growers to improve export knowledge and develop practical export skills.


Read more export updates in the AUSVEG Weekly Update e-newsletter and Vegetables Australia magazine.

See the latest export activity report from AUSVEG in Vegetables Australia Spring 2020 edition (pages 44-45).

Learn more in the Export Fundamentals for Australian Fruit & Vegetable Growers: From Farmgate to International Markets online training course, aimed at improving vegetable industry export readiness.

The project team continues to progress activities across key areas including:

Export readiness, training and education

AUSVEG and Export Council Australia worked together to design an online/e-learning platform to better serve growers. The training materials are currently being reviewed with the program scheduled to launch by the end of 2019.

Market development

The team hosted 32 vegetable growers in attending three outbound trade missions to Asia:

  • 14 growers travelled to Thaifex in Thailand from 28 May – 1 June 2019
  • 18 growers attended Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong from 4 – 6 September 2019
  • The team attended China Fruit and Vegetable Fair (restructured) in Beijing from 9 – 10 September 2019

A reverse trade mission hosted more than 40 buyers from seven key export markets including Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates. A program of farm visits showcased local production and participants attended the Taste Australia – Fresh Produce Showcase, where vegetable and fruit exporters and industry groups connected with the delegates and experience a wide variety of high quality Australian fresh produce.

Market access

AUSVEG continues to engage with industry and growers to investigate opportunities for future market access or market improvement applications. Since 2017, ten new market access business cases have been submitted to the Trade Assessments Panel. Four have been approved and the remaining six are under redevelopment for future submission.

Communications and industry engagement

Four e-newsletters and industry notifications were distributed to a growing list of 134 recipients, and a detailed article outlining vegetable export growth was included in the Spring 2019 edition (page 34) of Vegetables Australia.


Read more in this article, Fresh vegetable exports increase on the back of strong Asian, Middle Eastern growth, on page 34 of Vegetables Australia Spring 2019 edition.

At the end of the second year of the project, the team reports that the following aspects of the project are providing a solid foundation for assisting vegetable grower-exporters to build capability and supporting a sustainable export sector. Specifically…

Export readiness

Six export readiness training workshops specific to vegetables were held in WA, Queensland and Tasmania to give growers more confidence about exporting.

AUSVEG is currently in discussion with Export Council Australia to design an online e-learning platform to make the information accessible to more growers.

Market access

A number of market access applications have been submitted to the Trade Assessment Panel and when available, AUSVEG provides market access updates to growers, including insights into maximum residue levels accepted by overseas markets.

Market development

The team delivered six out bound trade missions including to:

  • Food and Hotel Asia, Singapore, April 2018
  • Asia Fruit Logistica, Hong Kong, September 2018
  • WorldofPerishables, Dubai, October2018
  • China Fruits and Vegetables Fair, Beijing, November 2018
  • Gulfood, Dubai, February 2019
  • Foodex Japan, Tokyo, March 2019

A total of 28 vegetable growers attended the events to allow them to understand the local supply chain and distribution channels in these key export markets. AUSVEG reports that 90 new connections were made between levy paying grower-exporters and foreign buyers. The team continues to deliver ongoing support and advice to levy-paying growers in building and maintaining strong grower-importer relationships.

The team is building a brand for Australian vegetables that conveys the premium value of the produce, in alignment with Taste Australia.

A reverse trade mission to Queensland was arranged for 40 international buyers from seven key export markets. The mission included visits to a range of horticultural producers, building understanding of export supply chains, developing knowledge of Integrated Pest Management and broadening knowledge on irradiation and cold treatment to meet phytosanitary market access requirements.

Developing the Vegetable Industry Export Strategy 2020

The team has been reviewing the Vegetable Industry Export Strategy 2020 ̧ to ensure it remains current and reflects the dynamic international trade market. An updated document was distributed to Australian vegetable levy paying growers and industry members.

An implementation schedule for the Strategy has been drawn up also with input from the team.

Industry communication

A total of 12 articles about the work have appeared in industry publications, and a series of industry workshops are being planned.

Midterm review

An independent midterm review of this project found that growers in the program attribute over $20 million in revenue benefits as a direct result of being involved. This is a significant return on investment, showing that the program has been effective at improving vegetable exports and has delivered a positive impact for industry.


Related levy funds

This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund