COLLABORATION is the key to the further growth of the 2018 Western Australian horticulture industry, according to a major conference last week.
The 2018 Western Australian Horticulture Update took place at the Perth Crown Convention Centre and presented delegates with information on the changing retail landscape and shifts in consumer decision-making impacting growers and agribusiness.
Speaking at the update, agribusiness consultant, Dr David McKinna, detailed the benefits and pitfalls of collaborative export business models.
Dr McKinna has worked on export development for Australian agrifood exports across multiple categories, playing key roles in the highly successful Aussie Beef strategy in Japan and South Korea and consumer marketing strategies for Australian horticulture in South East Asia.
His presentation explored export and collaborative opportunities in a study initiated by industry body vegetablesWA and the department, supported by the State Government’s Horticultural Research Recovery Fund.
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“Australian vegetable exports have experienced a resurgence, particularly in Asia and the Middle East, driven largely by rising middle-class affluence leading to the growth of supermarkets and high-end foodservice outlets,” he said.
“Australian exports to these markets have enjoyed a sustained period of double digit growth, due to the strong growth of higher-value green vegetables.”
Dr McKinna said new and highly successful collaborations between producers offered a pivotal platform for sustained growth of vegetable exports.
“The key outtake from this report is that most small businesses may find it difficult to take advantage of the export opportunity in their own right and would benefit greatly from adopting collaborative export models,” he said.
“Advantages include allowing smaller businesses to be sustainable exporters, providing a critical mass and access to better market intelligence.
“Examination of case studies in the report also highlight some of the pitfalls and how these can be prevented.”
Department of Horticulture acting director, Rohan Prince, said the event attracted about 130 attendees.
“The Western Australian horticulture sector has an extremely diverse production base, operating right across the state and delivering fresh produce worth close to $1 billion annually,” Mr Prince said.
“The department continues to support the industry to improve competitiveness, investigate new areas of production and research to overcome constraints and grow productivity.”
The two-day event was delivered by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.