The Avo Insider and its contents are a member-only service of Avocados Australia. You will not see these articles in the media or our other publications.
We look into the rear mirror to review 2023 and see the entire Australian avocado industry clap their hands to acknowledge one another’s tremendous efforts to grow exports and activate market access opportunities. 2023 was a stellar collegiate effort to help not only achieve access to Thailand and India, but also drive forward the opportunities within the International Market Access Advisory Panel’s ‘approved pools for prioritisation and market improvement’ – Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, and New Zealand. The avocado industry acknowledges, and thank greatly, the sustained, tenacious efforts of DAFF, and DFAT, to assist troubleshooting some of the complexities arising in the final negotiations and gazettal for protocols to India and Thailand; in particular, the Market Coordination & Strategy team at DAFF, and our esteemed Agricultural Counsellors, Kiran Karmal (India), and Amber Parr (Thailand).
Western Australia had their first season exporting to Thailand since 2013 and as of January 28, 2024, shipped 536tonnes, achieving a milestone of 4% market share. We had 4 packsheds and 13 growers accredited to export from Western Australia, and we saw many of these businesses hitting the pavement in Thailand building their brand credentials and strengthening their relationships with importers, wholesalers, and retailers. We look forward to the opportunities that year two trade can bring for our Western Australian industry, and no doubt will be watching the export volumes accelerate toward 1000t.
The Indian protocol was gazetted midway through the Western Australian season. DAFF, AAL, and industry, worked at a feverish pace to complete registrations and accreditations to allow trade to begin as soon as possible. We had 4 packing sheds and 16 growers accredited. Between these accredited properties we have seen 150tonnes exported to India over a period of 6 weeks with most recent data accumulated to January 28, 2024. AAL is coordinating the online registration process for QLD, NSW, VIC, and SA, and as at Friday 2 February, 2024, we have 10 packing sheds and 32 growers registered with audits and accreditations forthcoming. AAL and Hort Innovation will be collaborating on the India launch scheduled for May, with the ambassadorship of one of Australia’s most esteemed cricketers, and fast bowlers, Brett Lee. We expect this event, and support of Brett Lee, will invigorate the local Indian demand for our Aussie avocados and help demonstrate why our product is some of the best in the world.
Western Australia is again showing their prowess, increasing their market share in Japan to a very handsome 7% with a total of 935t exported up until 28 January 2024. This is circa 340% increase on the 272t (2% market share) exported in the 22-23 season. Again, we have seen many of our Western Australan exporters with boots on the group in Japan driving their relationship and brand across importers, wholesalers, and retailers. Further, we have seen our Japan Agricultural Counsellor, Tom Parnell, and Australian Trade Commissioners, Murray Spence, cutely leverage their social media platforms to push our Aussie brand and product quality throughout their expansive Japanese networks.
AAL continues to explore avenues to build the Aussie avocado brand and identity in China with a view to market access. Avocados sit within the IMAAP pool for prioritisation and to progress the opportunities in China, AAL and China Entry-Exit Inspection Quarantine Association co-hosted an official MoU signing ceremony in Beijing, Friday November 10. The signing coincided with the visit of QLD Premier, Hon. Anna Palaszczuk, and Trade Investment Queensland CEO, Just McGowan. In the presence of many leading Chinese importers and wholesalers, the ceremony successfully activated the beginning of building capabilities toward technical market access for Australian avocados. As a result of the MoU, in December and January, major Chinese fruit importers Riverking, and SupaFresh, respectively, visited Western Australia and Queensland farms and packshed to research potential supply opportunities. We managed to align their visits so they could join us in discussing our plans for China with WA Agricultural Minister, Hon. Jackie Jarvis, and QLD Agricultural Minister, Hon. Mark Furner, and they strongly expressed their desire to import Australian avocados in those meetings. Mainland apples, and blueberries, are the Commonwealth’s market access priorities currently for China, and AAL are actively building dialogue with federal authorities to understand ways to reinvigorate trade negotiations between China and Australia in respect to mainland apples and blueberries to bring forward the prioritisation opportunity for Australian avocados.
Vietnam remains an opportunity for Australian avocados, and there is hope that Vietnam and Australia complete the current technical 2×2 negotiations, which could enable avocados to be a potential successor in the next prioritisation process. We have plans for 2024 to visit Australia’s Agricultural Counsellor to Vietnam, Tony Harmon, to engage in detailed conversation about navigating the opportunities ahead.
Taiwan and South Korea
Avocados remain in the IMAAP pool for prioritisation, and it is yet to be determined whether AAL will undertake market visits to Taiwan and South Korea given the likely long timelines to establish prioritisation business cases.
Fresh & Secure Trade Alliance (FASTA)
AAL, represented by CEO, John Tyas, myself, AAL Board Directors Matt Kleyn and Chip Saint, attended the inaugural FASTA Avocado Roundtable R&D Workshop. The Roundtable convened in Brisbane, Thursday December 7. Also in attendance were DAFF, QDAF, DPIRD, HIA, CSIRO, and Wayne Prowse (Director, Fresh Intelligence). The workshop derived very strong and progressive action items that we expect will lead swiftly into some exciting Q-fly R&D to supplement conditional non-host existing data. We expect to achieve optimistic results which will aid DAFF in any forthcoming technical negotiations. As a result of the workshop, an overarching Market Access R&D Plan will be created to give industry strategic guidance to move forward and develop greater technical market access credentials and bandwidth. It is important to note that market access research on Shepard is already in train to be undertaken during the 2024 Shepard season.
National Residue Survey Subscription Project
AAL is supporting the development of a national residue survey to assist in understanding, and mitigating, MRL risks across the entire avocado supply chain with a primary focus on reducing the chance of breaches in export markets. We expect the project will be undertaken over the remainder of 2024 and early 2025. Dove tailing this survey project, work is also underway to assist in developing MRL XWHP modelling to assist in improving MRL compliance. This modelling is being trialled by some other industries whereby withholding periods can be established for certain agrichemicals such that their use at certain times prior to harvest will not result in MRL breaches in export markets.
AAL MRL App
AAL has taken an innovative step forward and partnered with the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) to close the gap on time taken to update important MRL threshold for export markets.
To download the MRL App go to the Best Practice Resource HERE. Log in and then you will be automatically directed to the webpage.
This article was produced for the February 2024 edition of the Avo Insider.