The Federal Budget – NFF’s response

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.


Avocados Australia has been working with the National Farmers Federation (NFF) to lobby the Government on a range of issues affecting the Australian avocado industry. How the Government channels its funds is one of those issues. In all, the NFF found that the recent budget falls short of addressing the major needs of the agriculture sector, however, some areas put forward have merit.

According to the NFF although the Federal Budget delivers on areas like connectivity, it is “wanting” when it comes to some of agriculture’s greatest challenges.

NFF President, Fiona Simson, said “farmers are in the grip of a severe labour crisis, facing skyrocketing costs, and currently experiencing flooding – in some cases for the third time in 12 months.”

The NFF President argues that if the budget had aimed to address these issues it would have also addressed the cost-of-living pressures everyday Australians are currently experiencing.

“These pressures on farmers are being felt by everyday Australians who are witnessing supply and price shocks on supermarket shelves,” said Ms Simson.

The NFF believes there are steps the Government can and should take to boost output, ease supply and cost issues. Things like improving access to labour, bolstering supply chain infrastructure, and securing access to water.

The NFF Hort Council members (including Avocados Australia) believe that the labour crisis is a major barrier to farm production in Australia and instead of decisive action to end the crisis the Budget contained a setback.

PALM promise underdelivered

The Budget reveals that Labor’s election commitment to cover worker travel costs under the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) Scheme will instead be replaced with an underwriting scheme.

According to the NFF President this commitment to help with the cost of bringing in Pacific workers was “a consolation prize for the scrapping of the Ag Visa.” Now it is another disappointment, and the workforce crisis continues.

John Tyas, CEO of Avocados Australia, and other NFF Hort Council members, feel that Labor has gone back on their election promise.

Heritage Trust extension welcome

Fortunately, there was a welcome inclusion in the budget. The Budget provides $1.1 billion over six years to extend funding for the Natural Heritage Trust to support sustainable management of Australia’s environment. $302.1 million of this funding is earmarked for the farm sector.

The $302 million has been allocated to support the transition of the farm sector towards sustainable farming and land management practices.

The NFF President had this to say: “This is a critical announcement that will help farmers understand and respond to climate change, and access new environmental markets.”

The NFF will seek to work with the Australian Government on the design and implementation of this measure.

Additional biosecurity funding, but sustainable funding remains elusive

Australia’s biosecurity environment continues to face increasing risks, as we fight to contain a Varroa mite outbreak.

“We welcome the Government’s allocation of additional funding to biosecurity measures, noting though that much of this is comprised of previously announced measures, including from the March budget,” said Ms Simson.

The fast tracking of preparedness, detection and response measures, detector dog funding as well as additional funding for traceability improvement are all important measures to bolster our biosecurity preparedness.

These additional commitments are important, but the NFF said “what this Budget doesn’t do is deliver on the Government’s clear election commitment to establish a sustainable funding stream for our biosecurity system.”

The NFF Hort Council is determined to see sustainable biosecurity funding and effort will be brought to task to see this addressed when the next Budget is handed down.

Water projects dropped

The Budget contains $4.6 billion in cuts to water infrastructure projects committed to under the previous Government.

The Budget does instead fund water projects – including in the Cairns region and Tasmania – with an allocation of $278 million over 5 years.

Open door to water buybacks will alarm farmers

The Budget papers signal an unpublished number has been allocated to deliver water recovery under the Murray Darling Basin Plan. The number is withheld due to commercial sensitivities.

The NFF have been clear in their representations to the Government that “we want further on farm water buybacks off the table.”

“Communities are nervous about the Government’s approach to this issue, and the number concealed in the budget will send a shiver down their spine,” said Ms Simson.

Connectivity funding delivery welcomed

The Budget improves on the Government’s election commitment to deliver connectivity in the bush and builds on investments made into the National Broadband Network (NBN).

This funding package provides over $757 million to fund a suite of connectivity measures from the Better Connectivity Plan for Regional and Rural Australia plan, as well as additional funding for current programs including the Regional Connectivity Program and Mobile Black Spot Programs.

The NFF President stated that “‘the sector welcomes the budgeting of the previously announced $30 million for on-farm connectivity, $20 million for an audit of mobile coverage and $6 million for the Regional Tech Hub.”

“Australia is a big country, and we need sustained investment to ensure services in the bush keep pace with those in the city.”

Infrastructure spend changes

The Budget confirms the Government’s pre-budget announcement that it would scrap cornerstone regional development schemes of the previous government and replace them with two new funds.

The Growing Regions Program and Regional Precincts and Partnerships Program will receive $1 billion over 3 years – failing to offset the scrapping of various existing regional programs.

“We’re continuing to see more and more Australians leave the major cities for a life in the regions,” said the NFF President.

“While that’s fantastic to see, it’s placing extreme pressure on infrastructure and services in the bush.”

“The Precincts and Partnerships Fund moves towards a model of smart, place-based investment championed by the NFF. It’s fantastic to see the Government leading the way to a more strategic and collaborative approach to regional development.”

“Unfortunately, the quantum of funds will disappoint regional Australians, as new programs fail to fill the void left by cuts. While more Australians are heading to the regions, it seems government investment is heading in the other direction.”

National Reconstruction Fund to boost food and agriculture

The Budget confirms the establishment of the National Reconstruction Fund – promised at the election.

$500 million of the $15 billion fund (to be invested over 7 years) will go towards projects in the farm sector. This investment will help to offset the cancellation of over $300 million unspent from the Modern Manufacturing Strategy – an existing grants program which also included a focus on food and drink manufacturing.

In addition to these investments, the Budget includes several grants to agrifood businesses including Costa Group, Inghams, and a pilot Food Manufacturing Hub in NSW.

“We’re passionate supporters of doing more with our food and fibre on Australian shores,” Ms Simson said.

“We’re looking forward to seeing what opportunities the National Reconstruction Fund can unlock for the farm sector.”

Farmers to receive support for climate transition

The Budget delivers funding to deliver the Government’s signature climate change policy – Powering Australia. These measures will create the structures that deliver a major shift in climate change and energy policy.

“We look forward to working with the Government to deliver priorities for agriculture including for improved abatement methodologies and low emissions technologies.

“This includes funding a range of transitional initiatives for farm energy,” said the NFF President.

Where to from here

Avocados Australia contributed our position on the budget to the NFF Hort Council and we will continue to push for the sector’s best interests to further our case on issues. We will communicate our progress in future issues of Avo Insider. Members who would like to provide their views on the budget and any additional points on the issues affecting their operations are welcome to email the AAL communications manager at co@avocado.org.au.


This article was produced for the November 2022 edition of the Avo Insider.

World Avocado Congress – Early Bird Registration extended!

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.


The World Avocado Congress, happening next year from 2-5 April in New Zealand, promises to be a “must see” event for avocado growers as the speakers will be presenting on the issues of importance now and into the future. We are pleased to inform you all that the early bird registration deadline has been extended to 30 November 2022!

Two of the speakers scheduled to present during the congress are: Dr Brent Clothier (a leading soil and water scientist he is Principal Scientist at Plant & Food Research, New Zealand) and Florence Van Dyke (the Sustainability Lead for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, New Zealand’s international business development agency). To see all of the speaker information click here.

The World Avocado Congress is only held every four years and it is a great way to keep up with the latest developments across the global avocado industry. Avocados Australia hosted the 2011 World Avocado Congress in Cairns and this event gave Australian growers valuable insights.

You can stay up to date about the World Avocado Congress by visiting their official website at: https://www.wacnz2023.com/


This article was produced for the November 2022 edition of the Avo Insider.

AAL celebrating 20th Anniversary in 2023

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.


In 2003, members of the Australian Avocado Growers Federation wanted to form a new national organization in order to “share a common vision to create individual success” and Avocados Australia Ltd was born. Avocados Australia was formed on the belief that the industry must be a strong national community. To be so the industry needed to agree on common goals and unite to ensure “our collective and individual success”.

Twenty years on the industry has grown and production has also grown rapidly. Next year Avocados Australia Ltd celebrates its 20th Anniversary and we will mark the occasion in a number of ways. One of them is to hold a members-only function during the World Avocado Congress on the evening of Monday 3 April 2023 at the Grand Millennium Hotel in Auckland. We invite all our members to this event and we hope you can make the journey across to New Zealand. Let us know if you intend to attend the World Avocado Congress by completing this brief survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7LRQ67Y


This article was produced for the November 2022 edition of the Avo Insider.

New Staff

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.


Grant Telford
Project Manager – Avocado Biosecurity Strategy Project

Grant joined the Avocados Australia team in July 2022 to oversee AAL’s new 5-year biosecurity strategy project. Grant’s 33 years in biosecurity, working across all facets of biosecurity, makes him the ideal candidate to take on the project management and coordination role for AAL.  Grant’s interest in working with AAL in avocado biosecurity was first sparked with his participation in the upgrading of the ANVAS scheme.  Grant was provided with the opportunity to work not only with AAL but also a number of avocado scientists in developing the new Avocado Nursery Stock Specification which underpins ANVAS.

Grant is passionate about… seeing a job well done – he believes that growing avocados should be about business stability and profitability in the first instance, with biosecurity risk mitigation being an important secondary step that assists a grower in meeting that goal.

Richard Magney
Chief of Export – Market Access

Richard joined the Avocados Australia team at the end of October 2022. His role is to drive market access for Australian avocados into priority new markets. Richard’s main focus will be to develop and drive our export market access strategies. He has extensive export and commercial business experience and will also work closely with Flora Zhang, the Avocado Export Market Development Manager to support the implementation of export protocols.

Richard is passionate about… increasing opportunities for exporting Australian avocados.


This article was produced for the November 2022 edition of the Avo Insider.

Board changes

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.


On the 25 October 2022, the AAL AGM was held at the Brisbane Markets in Rocklea. Jim Kochi, who had stepped down from his position as Chair in November 2021, chose not to seek re-election in 2022 and this resulted in Matt Kleyn being elected, unopposed, as the new North Queensland director.

Above, Matthew Kleyn, the new director for the North Queensland growing region.

Matthew Kleyn and his wife Louise own Lakeshore Pty Ltd, a company based in Walkamin and Kairi North Queensland which grows avocados. They have been growing avocados for approximately 15 years and have expanded over this period into a large operation. They have also owned and operated a packing facility for 8 years in Tolga, North Queensland. Prior to growing avocados, Matthew had been involved and performed roles in many different industries from Hospitality and Wedding Planning, Retail, Agricultural machinery design and was even a courier for a few years. Matthew is enthusiastic about the future of our industry.

“Although in the short term we will face some difficulties in oversupply, I will do what I can to help steer the industry in a direction that best benefits all of its growers and achieves the greatest outcomes for all,” said Matthew Kleyn, the new director for the North Queensland growing region.

Matthew Kleyn can be contacted by email at m.kleyn@avocado.org.au

Jim Randell, who was Board appointed in December 2021, did not succeed in the election that took place in 2022 so Lucia Philip replaced Jim as Central Queensland/Sunshine Coast director. There are two directors serving in the Central Queensland/Sunshine Coast growing region. Lucia (or Lucy as she is also known) is joined by Eric Carney. We thank Jim Randell for his enthusiastic service during 2022.

Above, Lucy Philip joins the AAL Board as Central Queensland/Sunshine Coast director.

Lucy Philip is an avocado farmer in the Childers area, along with her husband Kevin they own Brooklet Farms Pty Ltd which has a long family history of growing tomatoes and avocados since 1973.

“I am very passionate about improving the economic viability of the industry,” said Lucy.

“We, as an industry have an amazing product and have come so far, we now need to share our love of the avocado and our amazing fruit with our APAC neighbours.”

Lucy has an agricultural background with sales, marketing and export experience. Her husband is a third-generation horticultural farmer with strong ties to the region. Lucy and Kevin have had experience growing other produce such as Indian Sandalwood and hydroponic berries around Queensland and in the Northern Territory. She has completed a Bachelor of Agribusiness at University of Queensland, a Graduate Certificate in Agribusiness and is currently studying a Master of Commerce.

To contact Lucy Philip, the new Central Queensland/Sunshine Coast director, email her at l.philip@avocado.org.au.


This article was produced for the November 2022 edition of the Avo Insider.

Message from the Chair

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.


Welcome to the November issue of Avo Insider. This is the last issue for the year. It has been a busy year so there is much to reflect on. I want to start by saying I am pleased that we have found our Chief of Export for Market Access. Richard Magney has already hit the ground running working to drive market access for Australian avocados into priority new markets.

The recent AGM went smoothly and – as John outlined – we saw changes in the make-up of the AAL Board. My sincere thanks go to Jim Kochi who, during the recent Board meeting, was awarded Life Membership. Jim deserved this honour as – over the last 18 years – he served on the Board and on various committees working to advance the industry. Thanks, Jim, for all your hard work.

I would like to welcome our two new directors, Matt Kleyn (the new North Queensland director) and Lucia Philip (our new Central Queensland/Sunshine Coast director). Our industry is growing and changing and, understandably, that means change for the AAL Board as well. I know that Matt and Lucia (Lucy) will work to represent their regions well. Make sure you read the “Board changes” article in this issue of Avo Insider to find out more about our new directors.

AAL is currently running Southeast Asia market visits to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and this includes attendance at Asia Fruit Logistica. This is a wonderful opportunity for the businesses that are participating. This includes: Avorama, Borderland-Queensland-Farms, Delroy Orchards, De Paoli Orchards, Green Skin Avocados, Hinterland Avocados, Kureen Farming, Lava Valley Produce, Mayfield Park Farms, Murray Eden Avocados, Organic Brothers Farms Pty Ltd, Rock Ridge Fresh, Simpson Farms, The Avocado Collective, and Wealth Check. No doubt there will be more future market visits and I’d like to encourage you all to take part if you can. To express your interest in attending future market visits contact Flora Zhang, AAL’s Export Development Manager, at export@avocado.org.au.

AAL (Daryl Boardman, myself and Richard Magney) recently hosted an Indian Delegation in Robinvale Victoria at Natale Farms. Thanks so much to Cosy and Vince for a magnificent presentation which went extremely well. Activities like this will help progress our market access into India which is in its final stages.

Above, the Indian delegation that was hosted this week at Natale Farms.

As many of us start focussing on exporting I want to reinforce how important it is to keep your eye on maintaining fruit quality. We must adopt best practice in our orchards and packing sheds. Remember that AAL manages and provides you with access to a valuable resource. This is the online Best Practice Resource that you can access from your laptop or mobile. Much of the growing section of the BPR aims to improve fruit quality and the tips and how-tos and other information contained in the BPR is essential reading. I understand that the team involved in the Avocado industry development and extension project (AV17005) are currently refreshing the content of the BPR to enhance its use. My recommendation is to use it! If you don’t have access to the BPR email admin2@avocado.org.au and ask to be provided with access.


This article was produced for the November 2022 edition of the Avo Insider.

CEO roundup

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.


Welcome to the November issue of Avo Insider.  I’m pleased to see that, currently, the average wholesale price per tray has improved. Exports to overseas markets has also increased so we are experiencing some positive trends for the industry at the moment. As our Avocado Export Strategy 2022-2026 outlines, our export markets are essential for the future of our industry. Avocados Australia’s recent media release reinforces our commitment to increasing exports to Japan. This release attracted coverage from international media outlets like FreshPlaza and FruitNet/AsiaFruit. The aim of this release is to inform other industries (who are also competing for market access), Government representatives and overseas businesses of our sincere commitment and justified investment in pursuing this objective.

We held our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Tuesday the 25 October at the Brisbane Markets in Rocklea. As our Annual Report for 2021-22 shows FY2021-22 was a very busy year for AAL, and the Annual Report provides a good overview of this activity. When you have a spare moment, I recommend that you look through the Annual Report here.

There have been a few changes to the AAL Board. My sincere thanks go out to the directors who have left the Board, Jim Kochi (after many years of service chose not to go up for re-election) and Jim Randell (who served during 2022 as a board-appointed director).

Jim Kochi has always been dedicated to the advancement of the industry and his 18 years of service shows how dedicated he has been, both as the North Queensland director and as AAL Chair. In recognition of Jim’s service to the industry the AAL Board decided to award Jim with Life Membership which I presented to Jim Kochi at the recent Board meeting.

Above: Jim Kochi was presented with AAL Life membership in recognition for his contribution to the Australian avocado industry.

Two new staff members have joined the AAL team. Grant Telford joins us as the Project Manager of the Avocado industry biosecurity strategy 2022-2026 project (AV21002). Grant has a wealth of experience, and he will work closely with a range of agencies to improve our industry’s biosecurity preparedness. Richard Magney joins us as Chief of Export – Market Access. This position is not a levy funded position, rather it is funded directly by Avocados Australia, as is the Domestic Market Development role filled by Hayleigh Dawson. You can find out more about Grant and Richard in the “New Staff” article.

We are coming to the end of another busy and challenging year and the World Avocado Congress, that’s to be held in Auckland New Zealand 2-5 April next year, is drawing even closer. I recommend that – if you’re not harvesting – you attend the congress to help stay informed about the latest developments in the international avocado industry. 2023 will be a huge year for AAL as we are celebrating our 20th Anniversary. AAL was established in 2003 and over the last 20 years we have grown into a globally focused organisation. To mark the occasion we will be celebrating our anniversary in a number of ways. One of them is at a members-only cocktail function during the World Avocado Congress in the evening on Monday 3 April at the Grand Millennium Hotel in Auckland. To help us organise this event please complete this brief survey and let us know if you are able to attend: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7LRQ67Y

 


This article was produced for the November 2022 edition of the Avo Insider.

Avocado Export Strategy 2022-2026 now in place

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.


In June this year the new Avocado Export Strategy (2022-2026) was completed. This strategy builds on the previous strategy (2019-2021) and guides investment in future export development initiatives so that the Australian avocado industry can optimise commercial outcomes both in the short- and long-term. It also recognises the increasingly challenging and globally competitive environment in which it now and in the future will operate. The strategy’s main objective is that by 2026 Australian avocado exports will reach at least 20,000 tonnes at sustainable pricing levels. The highest priority in the strategy is to achieve market access to new, larger export markets.

On page 3 you will find all of the Challenges and Opportunities listed. The strategy also lists current and possible future market conditions. Through market research and consultation with key stakeholders (including growers, exporters, researchers, and importers /retailers in export markets), it outlines sub-strategies, approaches and actions and the outcomes being sought.

The Export Growth Targets are all listed on page 5 of the Strategy. It includes existing markets plus the new markets to be targeted.

The Strategy will help to build a stronger future and aid industry decision making, as it will:

  • Assist industry stakeholders to identify export growth opportunities for Australian product and risks that require attention and monitoring
  • Assist Hort Innovation and Government with decisions regarding market access prioritization
  • Assist Avocados Australia with future submissions to Hort Innovation’s International Market Access Assessment Panel which assess market access and improvement applications

The Strategy includes four key Strategy Areas:

1) Market Access and MRL Management – market access, maintenance and improvement strategies, MRL management strategy
2) Export Supply – quality, meeting market access protocols/ MRL requirements, packaging, traceability, food safety
3) Export Demand – market (trade) development, promotion
4) Capacity building – education for Australian growers and supply chain, education for importers, food service and retailers.

A copy of the Avocado Export Strategy 2022-2026 document is now available from the Best Practice Resource (BPR) online. To access it log on to the BPR here then click here.

You will also find it useful to read the Australian Avocado Export Strategy 2022-2026 White Paper located here.

This strategy has been produced as part of the strategic levy investment project Avocado export strategy 2022-2026 (AV21000). This project is funded by Hort Innovation, using the avocado research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.


These articles were produced for the August 2022 edition of the Avo Insider.

Discounted Fair Farms Audits announced for AAL Members!

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.


This article and its contents have been temporarily removed. When this benefit is back up and running we will notify members.


These articles were produced for the August 2022 edition of the Avo Insider.

Member services update

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.


Avocados Australia’s Member Breakfasts continue to be popular with members and prove to be a great way for Members to stay informed about the industry while being able to network with other AAL Members. Three breakfasts have taken place so far this year. Breakfasts have been held in South Queensland (Crows Nest 23 February), Tamborine/Northern Rivers (Alstonville 1 June) and Central New South Wales (Wauchope 16 June). The breakfasts are an important service that Avocados Australia likes to deliver as it provides Members with an opportunity to ask questions and meet with staff face-to-face. These events provide growers with the chance to connect with other growers from their region which makes for valuable information sharing. The regional directors in each region provide a welcome address so that new members can meet their Regional Director.

 

Above: John Tyas, CEO of Avocados Australia, and Daryl Boardman, SQ Regional Director, provide an industry update to gathered Members at the SQ Members Breakfast on 23 February at Crows Nest.

Above, Tamborine/Northern Rivers Members hear an overview from John Tyas at the Members Breakfast held on 1 June in Alstonville.

Above, Hayleigh Dawson provides a market development update to Central NSW Members at a Members Breakfast held in Wauchope on 16 June.


These articles were produced for the August 2022 edition of the Avo Insider.