Australian vegetable growers are benefiting from strong demand for locally-grown vegetables in key export markets and investment in increasing their exporting capabilities, with newly released trade data indicating that total fresh vegetable exports have increased 6.6 per cent in value to AUD$299 million in 2019.
Carrots remained the largest export product in 2019 at 34 per cent of the total exported volume. Some other key vegetable exports include potato, onion, celery, broccoli and cauliflower, which all remained significant export products in 2019.
Onions led much of the export growth in 2019, with the value of exported onions increasing by 67 per cent to AUD$40 million in 2019. Tasmanian growers contributed most of the national growth in onion exports, increasing exports from the state by 91 per cent, particularly to European markets. Western Australian and South Australian growers also increased onion exports 67 per cent and 47 per cent respectively.
The volume of Australian fresh vegetable exports has also seen continued growth in the face of challenging trading and production conditions. The total volume of Australian fresh vegetable exports increased 5.4 per cent to 230,000 tonnes in 2019.
The top five markets for Australian fresh vegetables remained largely stable for 2019. These are Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, which has replaced Hong Kong for fifth position. These five markets received around 53 per cent of Australian fresh vegetable export volumes.
AUSVEG National Manager – Export Development Michael Coote said the progress the Australian vegetable industry has made in growing its exports is testament to the hard work of vegetable growers to persevere with the export process, and the work done by AUSVEG, Hort Innovation and the wider industry in providing opportunities for growers to increase their capability and opportunities to enter export markets.
“The Australian vegetable industry is continuing to see growth in its exports, particularly on the back of strong performing products such as onions to European markets” said Mr Coote.
“The continued rise in the value of vegetable exports is particularly impressive when you consider that Australian vegetables, including onions, are lower-priced products that are being grown in a high-cost environment, due to the rising costs of labour, electricity and water. So even as they experience vulnerability to fluctuating exchange rates that make it harder for vegetable growers to compete in a global market, fresh vegetable exports continue to grow.
“The Vegetable Industry Export Program, delivered by AUSVEG in partnership with Hort Innovation, continues to support growth in fresh vegetable exports. In 2019, the program facilitated the development of export capabilities for the industry by bringing over 40 buyers into Australia to see local production, taking over 40 growers on outbound trade missions, and up-skilling another 80 growers through export readiness training.
“The industry is well on its way to reach the ambitious target of AUD$315 million in fresh vegetable exports by 2020 as outlined by the industry’s export strategy. We are working with growers to ensure they have the skills and knowhow to improve their ability to export their produce and capitalise on increasing demand for fresh, Australian-grown vegetable produce,” said Mr Coote.