THE cider industry is among those horticulture-related sectors to be granted funding for a traceability program.
Cider Australia was awarded $73,882 in Traceability Grants Program funding to test if chemical fingerprinting can verify cider made from 100 per cent Australian fruit.
Cider Australia vice president, Warwick Billings, said the project will bring transparency and truth to claims about provenance which is important for Australian producers and their customers, and for the long-term viability of the industry.
The cider industry has experienced something of a surge in recent years with consumption in Australia lifting by 11 per cent over the past five years.
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Australian cider exports are currently valued at around $24 million per year.
Minister for agriculture, David Littleproud, described Aussie-produced cider made from 100pc locally grown apples and pears as "head and shoulders one of the world's premium drinks".
"Chemical fingerprinting will enable the Australian industry to authenticate the origin of the fruit used in its ciders," Mr Littleproud said.
"This will build increased confidence in overseas markets that cider labelled as Australian is, indeed Australian, and that they can be assured of its quality and safety.
"Enhanced traceability technologies like chemical fingerprinting are more reliable and simpler than costly record keeping and auditing processes.
"This kind of authenticity test will also discourage product substitution or counterfeiting as our cider industry gears up for increased exports, capitalising on our reputation.
The Traceability Grants Program will invest $7 million in grants over two rounds until June 2023.
In August, Cider Australia announced that the 2020 Australian Cider Awards would be postponed due to COVID-19.
The judging of the annual cider show is held in Melbourne each October and involves a dedicated team of around 30 judges, stewards and staff, many of whom travel interstate or overseas to attend.
Cider Australia said it decided it was not feasible to proceed this year given the logistical challenges and health and safety risks posed by the pandemic.
Details about the next Awards will be announced in mid-2021.
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