AN initial shipment of broccoli from Australia two years ago has developed into a strong trade stream for Queensland growers.
Market access for broccoli was obtained by Lockyer Valley Growers in July 2017 and the first trial shipment of broccoli to Seoul occurred in August of that year.
Since then, the group has secured market access to South Korea for a variety of other vegetables including cabbages, spinach, kale, cauliflower, radicchio, lettuce and other leafy green vegetables.
A delegation of Qld vegetable growers and industry representatives embarked on a trade mission to South Korea this month.
Coordinated with support from Austrade and Trade and Investment Queensland, the itinerary involved visiting the wholesale markets, port facilities, buyers and importer warehouses, a farm, as well as formal meetings with trade officials and retail and wholesale buyers.
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Lockyer Valley Growers president, Michael Sippel, said the tour highlighted that the Qld vegetable industry could capitalise on the reduction of import tariffs across many vegetable crops as a result of the KAFTA.
"A key factor for success was exporting samples of a variety of vegetables that were then showcased during key meetings with retail and wholesale buyers and importers," Mr Sippel said.
With South Korea importing more than 70 per cent its food and agricultural products, the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) signed in December 2014 opened a trade avenue with reduced trade and investment barriers.
It also helped level the playing field for Australian exporters competing with those from the USA, Europe, Chile and ASEAN countries.
"It is brilliant that the three Qld grower groups have continued to work together to deliver greater export opportunities for vegetable growers in Qld," Mr Sippel said.
"Securing market access and tariff reductions enables our industry to continue to gain market entry and greater market share."
South Korea has a population of 51.4 million people and the capital Seoul is home to 26 million people.
The tour was part of project managed by Lockyer Valley Growers Inc, funded by Austrade through the Free Trade Agreement Market Entry Program and titled "Enhancing in-roads to export Queensland vegetables to South Korea".