Berry growers need to back export push for good of entire industry

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While they may not be directly engaged with it, all berry growers should be supportive of exports.

It was one of the themes to emerge from a session on exports at BerryQuest International 2022 on the Gold Coast last month.

Delegates heard from Berries Australia export manager Jenny van de Meeberg who gave an update on market access and trade development in the berry industry.

She said it was clear the sustainability of the Australian berry industry relied on a healthy export market.

“Industry growth is dependent on creating successful export markets that can take good volumes of fruit at commercially viable prices, especially during peak production windows,” Ms van de Meeberg said.

Growers were encouraged to make the most of trade information, dashboards and dynamic trade data available online.

Ms van de Meeberg said the industry was also about to embrace a maximum residue limit (MRL) app which was developed by the Australian Table Grape Association (ATGA), helping growers plan, manage and target their crops to specific markets.

ATGA chief executive officer Jeff Scott spoke at the conference, delivering details on the development of the app, as well as the continued rise of the table grape export market.

Ms van de Meeberg said Australian berries had been promoted at various foreign trade shows in recent years including in Vietnam, South Korea and Taiwan, with negotiations underway to provide a consistent supply to those nations.

She said the coming 18 months would see more submissions for increased market access, along with more market access research and development data packages.

Other areas on the export radar include Thailand, Singapore, India and the United Arab Emirates.

One of the challenges for exports is that berries are are not traditionally part of the diets in many of the countries being targeted.

This may require some forward-thinking resources such as culturally appropriate recipe examples with translations, photos and videos.

Ms van de Meeberg said it would also be develop export quality standards.

“Our objective is to encourage more fruit into export supply chains,” she said.

“We are not trying to turn every grower into an exporter.”

She said it was important to make this distinction.

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