ASIA'S vegetable consumption has increased 9.4 per cent per capita since 1990.
It should be a green light for Australian exporters but a recent ANZ Agribusiness report suggests the vegetable industry needs to up its game in order to capitalise.
ANZ launched its "Future of Fresh" report in China earlier this year on a trade delegation trip to the populous country.
While the report highlights a boom in Australian fruit exports, it paints more of a picture of possibility for the vegetable sector.
The 28-page report recommends Australia’s fruit and vegetable growers look to align production with Asian demand.
ANZ head of agribusiness, Mark Bennett, said Australian vegetable exporters have experienced less growth in Asia.
“While Australia’s fruit exports to Asia are accelerating, there remains considerable potential for vegetable growers to align their production more closely with demand in Asia or to continue to build a value-added brand aimed at Asia’s growing middle class,” Mr Bennett said.
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“Traditionally, our vegetable harvest has been dominated by potatoes and tomatoes due to Australian consumer demand, but producers today are actively reconsidering planting and production decisions due to the opportunities to increase exports to Asia.”
Fruit powers on
FRUIT consumption in Asia has grown 6.6pc per capita since 1990.
The divide between fruit and vegetables extends globally where Australia’s fruit exports market share is 1.2pc compared with 0.3pc for vegetables.
“We anticipate export growth to Asia to increase with fruit exports to China having already increased more than 500pc in four years.”
“There’s an opportunity for Australia’s horticulture industry to grow export to many of our typical export markets such as South Korea, Japan, China and the Middle East where some of the highest prices are paid for Australian produce.”
Not all easy
THE report also flags some hurdles to upping the export output.
“Barriers to export for Australian horticulture such as market access, quarantine protocols, timeliness and integrity of cold chain logistics remain," Mr Bennett said.
"So too do local operational challenges including the availability of reliable seasonal labour and increasing domestic energy costs which can impact irrigation and undercover growing conditions."
ANZ reports that Australian horticulture exports are now the nation’s fourth largest agricultural export commodity, worth $3 billion in 2016.
- Download a copy of the Future of Fresh report here.