THE value of Australian vegetable exports declined for the second year in a row in 2020/21.
Last month's Rural Bank Australian agricultural trade 2020/21 report showed vegetable exports decreasing by $6.6 million (down 2.2 per cent) to $288.6 million.
The organisation put the general decline down to the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with shipping disruptions and logistical issues which led to an increase in shipping costs.
Rural Bank regional manager agribusiness - South Australia and Northern Territory Neil Verringer said despite strong vegetable production across most of Australia in 2020/21, the value and quantity of all major vegetable exports declined with the exception of carrots.
"This decline in exports was a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with shipping disruptions and logistical issues leading to an increase in shipping costs, impacting the viability of vegetable exports," Mr Verringer said.
He was optimistic for the current year though.
"Favourable growing conditions and a rebound in global foodservice demand should see Australian exports bounce back in 2021/22," Mr Verringer said.
Within the export figures, the value of vegetable exports to Singapore decreased for the first time in eight years.
This was a drop of just more than $690,000 (down 1.3pc ).
Rural Bank said the decline was led by broccoli and cauliflower exports which fell by $930,000 (down 8.4pc) and accounted for 19.7pc of vegetable exports to Singapore.
THE Rural Bank report said Australian potato exports declined by $5.3 million (down 12.7pc) in 2020/21 but still achieved the third highest value of exports at $36.3 million. The decline was driven by an 8.5pc decline in export volume and a 4.8pc fall in average export price on the back of stagnant demand.
CARROT exports defied the decline by increasing by $6.3 million (up 6.9pc) to $97.4 million in 2020/21.
"This was driven by a 4.7pc increase in export volume and 2.1pc increase in average export prices thanks to a spike in consumers preparing meals at home following the downturn in the global foodservice industry throughout the back half of 2020," the report said.
"This jump in global consumer demand for Australian carrots was led by markets in Asia and the Middle East which continued to account for the majority of Australian carrot exports."
ONIONS also walked to the beat of their own export drum by increasing by almost $580,000 (up 1.9pc) to $30.8 million after recording a significant fall in 2019/20.
"Export volume increased by 24.8pc, partially offset by an 18.3pc decline in the average export price," the Rural Bank report said.
"This increase in exports was primarily driven by a rise in exports to Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore. This was enough to offset a decline in exports to Australia's primary onion exports markets in Europe as exports to the EU-27 declined by $2.9 million (down 28.8 per cent). European demand was weakened by extended lockdowns seen throughout most of the member states during the year."
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