AUSVEG, the industry representative for Australia’s vegetable and potato growers, has welcomed the announcement of the AUD$110 million International Freight Assistance Mechanism from the Federal Government this week, which will allow Australia’s vegetable grower exporters to meet the demand from key international markets for high-quality fresh vegetables.
The International Freight Assistance Mechanism will help exporters get their high-quality produce into key overseas markets, with return flights bringing back vital medical supplies, medicines and equipment critical to the ongoing health response.
Australian vegetable growers exported AUD$299 million of fresh vegetables in 2019, an increase of 6.6 per cent from the previous year. AUSVEG has worked closely with growers and the wider industry to provide opportunities for growers to increase their capability and opportunities to enter export markets to help the industry grow its exports to AUD$315 million by the end of 2020.
AUSVEG National Manager – Export Development Michael Coote said the announcement was already lifting the confidence of exporting vegetable growers who are keen to see the markets that they supply stay open despite the uncertain global economic environment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The International Freight Assistance Mechanism is welcome news for vegetable grower exporters who were uncertain about their ability to continue to service their international customers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mr Coote.
“Australian vegetables have a strong reputation for quality and reliability in key export markets, so it is critical that we are able to continue to export our fresh produce and that vegetable growers have a commercially-viable avenue to reach these markets.”
“Demand has continued to be strong for Australian fresh vegetables in international markets, with enquiries still coming in from a range of key importers. While demand has been high, exports of fresh vegetables have been affected by the reduction in the number of commercial passenger flights, which many growers use to export their fresh, perishable products to key Asian and Middle Eastern markets.”
“More details about the specifics of this program, including the cost that will be passed on to exporters, will become clearer in the coming days, but this announcement is a positive sign that the Australian Government is eager to help exporting vegetable growers maintain their existing markets and supply high-quality Australian vegetables to key markets.”
“AUSVEG welcomes the announcement made by Deputy Prime Minister McCormack, Minister Birmingham, Minister Littleproud, and Assistant Minister Duniam and looks forward to working with Michael Byrne as the International Freight Coordinator General to ensure that Australian vegetable growers can continue to export their produce,” said Mr Coote.