Article by: Hari Yellina
Although onions and melons aren’t often seen together in recipes, a new scheme will bring the two industries together to boost Australian exports. The three commodities, along with the vegetable sector, will fuel a $13.7 million export development programme through Hort Innovation, a first for the horticulture industry. The goal of the five-year Multi-Industry Export Program is to strengthen the industries’ export capabilities and ensure their long-term viability. The effort will be led by Ausveg, a vegetable representation organisation, with backing from Onions Australia and Melons Australia, and will be funded by the Australian government.
Brei Montgomery, Hort Innovation’s head of trade, said the timing was excellent given the current state of the trade markets. “While COVID has posed challenges, it has also resulted in new ways to involve stakeholders, strengthened partnerships with hungry markets, and a willingness for enterprises to diversify to meet this demand,” Ms Montgomery added. The collaborative approach represents a watershed moment for horticulture, which is a highly separated business. “It makes sense for the onion, vegetable, and melon businesses to collaborate,” she said. “Through a smart, collaborative approach, they all want to strengthen their overseas trade positions.”
“Australia has a reputation for producing high-quality produce that meets the strictest standards at every stage of the supply chain.” “This curriculum will capitalise on that excellent reputation.” Various export capabilities and market development activities supplied by Ausveg through Hort Innovation form the foundation of the programme. Growers will receive comprehensive market intelligence data and insights as part of the new scheme. Furthermore, growers will be able to re-engage with export markets and networks thanks to specialised advise on value-adding for export and a thorough programme. According to Ausveg CEO Michael Coote, the programme focuses on increasing grower export potential and capacity, gathering international market data for decision-making, and allowing vegetable, onion, and melon growers to engage in the highly successful Ausveg market development program.
“Over the last decade, the Australian vegetable industry has invested significantly in export development to help growers successfully export fresh Australian vegetables,” Mr Coote said. “As a result, the industry has built solid relationships and industry know-how that will benefit vegetable growers, as well as those in the onion and melon industries, which face similar issues with exporting as many vegetable growers.” The freshest veggies were sent to open, non-protocol markets like as Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Saudi Arabia in 20-21, with a total value of $264 million. According to Melons Australia CEO Johnathon Davey, there are numerous synergies between Ausveg’s vegetable export development activities and the melon industry’s outcomes.
Tim Groom, a member of Onions Australia’s executive committee and an exporter, said the multi-industry export programme will build on the company’s long history of successful trade and relationships. “With a big number of mature growers that have a strong export focus, the Australian onion business is the second largest vegetable crop exported in Australia,” he said. “This programme will build on the industry’s decades of hard work by providing fresh insights and techniques that will build on our success.” “Onions Australia has been striving for several years to improve our focus on strong export programmes and is excited to assist our growers in participating in this new programme.” Australia exported 49,429 tonnes of fresh onions and 82 tonnes of dried onions in the fiscal year ending June 2021. Fresh onions are mostly shipped to non-protocol markets including Europe (Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany), Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, and Japan. In 20-21, the Australian melon sector exported 12,890 tonnes of fruit for $26.5 million.