AUSTRALIAN horticulture is looking to make a bigger footprint overseas with the launch today of an ambitious plan to significantly grow exports by 2025.
Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIA) will commit more than $10.5 million into trade activities over the next year towards research and development to grow market access, and increased support for current and aspiring exporters.
The domestic launch was held in Sydney this morning.
A key component of the initiative is the new "Taste Australia" in-market export activity, which will help promote premium Australian produce in current and future markets.
Developed in consultation with growers, State and Federal Government agencies and other trade stakeholders, Taste Australia will be launched with more than 200 industry representatives at Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong next month.
That will kick off a six-month tour of trade show events in Dubai, Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo.
HIA chair, Selwyn Snell, said the potential for growth is significant given Australia’s solid reputation for producing high-quality produce, wide untapped opportunities, and the industry’s appetite for trade.
“Australia is known for delivering high-end produce that has undergone the most rigorous food safety inspections along all stages of the supply chain,” he said.
“We want to build upon that. The first way we are doing this is through Taste Australia, which tells the unique story of Australian horticulture products.
“Our country is known for our great lifestyle with our sunshine, appealing farms, beaches and landscapes, all of which is conveyed through this new in-market activity giving international consumers a sense of Australia every time they buy and eat Australian fruit, vegetable and nuts.”
Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Anne Ruston, launched the trade push.
“Our horticulture industry today made a bold statement about its intent to seize the opportunities global food demand presents,” Ms Ruston said.
“Global food demand alone will require a 75 per cent increase in world food production by 2050, compared with 2007 levels.
“In China, food consumption is projected to more than double between 2009 and 2050. Much of this demand will be for the high-value, high-quality produce Australia is known for.
“Taste Australia is a new brand and export campaign to promote premium Australian produce overseas.
“This brand promotes our longstanding reputation for quality produce, the cleanliness of our environment, the desirability of our lifestyle, and the trust that can be placed in our commercial supply chains and biosecurity."
Mr Snell said this year, HIA will invest 40pc more on trade show efforts than last year and growers and industry representative participation in overseas promotional activities will rise by 30pc.
“The focus will be on getting Australian produce and growers, exporters and other industry representatives in front of potential buyers, and building on those networks,” he said.
HIA will also continue to collectively work with a number of R&D corporations including Dairy Australia, Wine Australia and Meat and Livestock Australia to showcase premium food and beverages at events overseas under the "Taste Australia" banner.
Australian Made Campaign chief executive, Ian Harrison, said whether or not businesses intend to market their products as Australian domestically or abroad, consistency was key.
“A collaborative, cohesive approach to country-of-origin branding for all Australian product categories would serve our farmers and manufacturers well,” Mr Harrison said.
“A single logo that establishes the national identity of all Australian products is an important step towards an effective strategy for 'brand Australia'.
“The Australian Made, Australian Grown logo is already being used globally by thousands of Australian farmers and manufacturers, so it makes sense to leverage that brand equity collectively."
On home soil, HIA will invest more than $10.5M in trade-related R&D activities over the next year and is set to boost its investment across areas such as biosecurity, pre-export produce treatments, and supply chain efficiencies.
The push to better market Australian produce comes as West Australian mining identity and beef producer and processor, Andrew (Twiggy) Forrest, recently made comments that Australia’s food and marketing message to Chinese shoppers, in particular, is chaotic and confusing.
Despite efforts by Austrade to encourage exporters to adopt certain “brand Australia” labelling protocols, the Fortescue Metals Group chairman repeated his concerns at a recent Melbourne agribusiness event, saying clear and generic branding messages were badly needed to promote our quality, premium-priced food exports.
Australia’s horticulture exports reached record levels of $2.6 billion in 2015–16, and are forecast to continue to increase to $3.3 billion by 2021–22.