Australian farmers will need to consider more investments in storage solutions, such as warehouse pallet racking systems, as the value of fresh produce exports will continue to increase until 2020.
Global Trade Atlas data showed that the exports of vegetables would generate $315 million in revenues in the next two years. In 2017, export shipments rose 2 per cent to $252 million, up 61 per cent since 2012.
Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates represent the top export markets for Australian vegetables. By product, carrot exports outperformed any other type of vegetable in the previous year.
It represents more than 60 per cent of total exports by value and more than 80 per cent of export volume. Exporters shipped 111,000 tonnes of carrots worth $91 million in 2017.
While demand mostly comes from the Middle East and Asia, many exporters could further expand their business if more types of vegetables gain access to the Chinese market, according to AusVeg national manager of export development Michael Coote.
Coote believes that limited market access to China among vegetable exporters has kept them behind their counterparts in the fruit business. A comparison between the two sectors is unavoidable, but he said that it could be difficult to do so.
Aside from their advantage of market access, fruit exporters could put a higher price on products due to their seasonal production, according to Coote. On the other hand, the industry produces most vegetables, such as carrots, all year round to fetch low prices.
Exports represent a significant part of vegetable growers’ business, but the sector needs to refocus on how it can safely store perishable goods. Australia is known for its strict food safety standards, so companies need to be more conscious of choosing the right warehousing solutions.