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Australia declared free from citrus canker

Australia has been declared officially free from citrus canker following remaining restricted areas in the Northern Territory (NT) being lifted.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought, and Emergency Management, David Littleproud acknowledged and thanked NT and Western Australia (WA) for their immense efforts in leading the national response to citrus canker.

“Citrus canker is a serious bacterial disease of citrus which affects the leaves, twigs and fruit causing leaves to drop and fruit to fall to the ground before it ripens,” Minister Littleproud said.

The disease was first detected affecting potted citrus plants in April 2018 in Darwin (NT) and May 2018 in Kununurra and Wyndham (WA) in a small number of properties with potted plants originating from the NT.

“If left untreated it could have been detrimental to our $800 million citrus industry," Littleproud said. “WA was declared free from citrus canker in November 2019 after eradication activities were completed in the Kununurra and Wyndham areas."

“The nationally coordinated response to locate and remove all traces of citrus canker in the NT has been successful and all eradication activities are now complete, thanks to the support of the NT community."

He said this milestone is "great news" for the Darwin community and Australia more broadly as it allows residents and businesses in the formerly restricted areas to reintroduce, grow and cultivate citrus plants on their properties.

“It also allows unrestricted domestic movement and trade of citrus fruit and leaves into and out of the formerly restricted areas," Littleproud said.

“This is an important example of the significant biosecurity risks that Australia faces and why it is so important to follow our biosecurity conditions relating to the introduction of plant material."

 Source: https://www.freshfruitportal.com/

 

Suez Canal blockage cleared as cargo ship Ever Given fully floated, but traffic jam will take days to clear

The giant container ship that blocked Egypt's Suez Canal for almost a week has been fully floated and traffic in the waterway has resumed, the canal authority said in a statement.

Live footage on Egyptian television showed the ship surrounded by tug boats moving slowly in the centre of the canal.

The 400-metre long ship had been blocking one of the world's busiest trade routes, forcing companies to reroute ships and causing long tailbacks of hundreds of vessels.

Helped by the peak of high tide, a flotilla of tugboats managed to wrench the bulbous bow of the Ever Given from the canal's sandy bank, where it had been firmly lodged since last Tuesday.

Satellite data from MarineTraffic.com confirmed that the ship was moving away from the shoreline toward the centre of the artery.

The obstruction has created a massive traffic jam in the vital passage, holding up $12 billion each day in global trade and straining supply chains already burdened by the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more . . 

 

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/

Australia’s export legislation is changing

Australia is getting a new legislative framework for agricultural exports on 28 March 2021. Together, the Export Control Act 2020 and Export Control Rules 2021 streamline existing export requirements that were previously across 20 Acts and 40 pieces of legislation.

If you are involved in exporting plants and plant products, the Export Control (Plants and Plant Products) Rules 2021 set out the specific requirements you need to follow. More simply known as the plant rules, they replace the current Plant and Plant Product Orders.

The new legislation is easier to understand and use. It will continue to achieve the same regulatory outcomes that are expected by Australia’s trading partners.

The new legislation looks different, but it is not designed to add regulatory burden or change how industry do business in the short term. In the longer term it will support our plant industries to innovate and pursue opportunities for efficiency.

For export businesses, the changeover should be simple. All existing legislative approvals will automatically transition when the new legislation begins.

This includes accredited properties, registered establishments, authorised officer appointments, export permits, government certificates (such as phytosanitary certificates), product inspection records, treatment supervision records, container approvals and bulk vessel approvals.

There are some key changes you should be aware of as we transition to the new legislation. These include updates to policy, IT systems and forms.

For more information: ausveg.com.au 

https://www.agriculture.gov.au/export/controlled-goods/plants-plant-products/new-legislation 

 Source : https://www.freshplaza.com/ 

Publication date: Tue 16 Mar 2021

 

Ever Given could block the Suez Canal for weeks, with hundreds of ships backed up

A container ship blocking the Suez Canal like a "beached whale" may take weeks to free, the salvage company says, as officials stop all ships from entering the waterway.

The 400 metre Ever Given is blocking transit in both directions through one of the world's busiest shipping channels for oil and grain and other trade linking Asia and Europe.

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said eight tugs were working to move the vessel, which got stuck diagonally across the single-lane southern stretch of the canal on Tuesday morning (local time) amid high winds and a dust storm.

Key points:

  • A total of 206 large container ships have backed up at either end of the canal
  • Roughly 30 per cent of the world's shipping container volume transits through the canal daily
  • The ship's GPS signal shows only minor changes to its position over the past 24 hours

Continue reading

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/

Author: ABC analyst Casey Briggs

Hort Connections 2021

Hort Connections 2021 is the joint industry conference and Trade Show co-produced by AUSVEG and PMA Australia-New Zealand Limited (PMA A-NZ) to be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre 7-9 June 2021. The event theme is Celebrating the international year of fruits and vegetables, the event will celebrate the vital role that horticulture has to play in our economic, health and nutritional wellbeing. 

https://www.hortconnections.com.au/ 

Asylum seekers help to fill hort labour shortage in regional Victoria

This year has been particularly challenging for producers to find workers.

COVID-19 restrictions have caused a collapse in the number of working holiday visa holders — the backpacking workforce crucial to the agricultural industry.

Working holiday visas have fallen from about 140,000 at the end of 2019 to about 50,000 now.

The National Farmers Federation (NFF) estimates there will be a shortage of 26,000 agricultural workers when demand peaks around March.

This inspired university  Aviva White, who volunteers at the Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project (BASP) in Melbourne. 

"We noticed a lot of coverage within the media about huge labour shortages in the agriculture industry, that there was lots of fruit to be picked and lots of jobs on farms available," she said.

That led to a collaboration with Regional Australians for Refugees (RAR), who heard about jobs going at Koala Cherries in Yarck.

Read the full article

Source : https://www.abc.net.au/

Author: Norman Hermant 

 

 

Regional trade deal to boost export opportunities for Aussie farmers and businesses

Joint media release with:
The Hon Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minister
15 November 2020
Australian farmers and businesses are set to benefit from better export opportunities with the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement between Australia and 14 other Indo-Pacific countries.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the signing of this long-awaited agreement signalled our region’s shared commitment to open trade and investment, despite the challenges of COVID-19.

“Our trade policy is all about supporting Australian jobs, boosting export opportunities and ensuring an open region with even stronger supply chains. RCEP builds on our trade successes and is good news for Australian businesses,” Prime Minister Morrison said.

“With one in five Australian jobs reliant on trade, the RCEP Agreement will be crucial as Australia and the region begin to rebuild from the COVID‑19 pandemic.

“This agreement covers the fastest growing region in the world and, as RCEP economies continue to develop and their middle classes grow, it will open up new doors for Australian farmers, businesses and investors.”

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said RCEP would be the world’s largest free trade agreement and would improve export opportunities for Australian farmers and businesses, especially in the services sector.

“This deal will further integrate Australian exporters into a booming part of the globe, with RCEP countries making up nearly 30 per cent of world GDP and the world´s population,” Minister Birmingham said.

“RCEP has been driven by the ten ASEAN nations, who collectively constitute Australia’s second largest two-way trading partner and have successfully brought Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea into this regional trading block with them.

“This agreement may have taken eight years to negotiate but it could not have come at a more important time given the scale of global economic and trade uncertainty.

“Economic cooperation of this scale sends a strong signal that our region is committed to the principles of open trade for the post COVID-19 recovery, just as we advanced them during the previous years of strong economic growth.

“Greater openness within our region, as well as the greater integration of value chains and more common rules of origin which this deal delivers, will make it easier for Australian businesses and investors to operate throughout our region, helping Australia to continue to grow our exports.

“There are particular gains for Australian providers within the financial services sector, education, health, engineering and other professional services, who can become better integrated within the region and have more access within RCEP countries.

“Australia is committed to fully ratifying RCEP as soon as possible so Australian farmers, businesses and investors can start to access the benefits of this agreement. It will also be an inclusive agreement, with the door open for others, especially India, to join if and when they are ready.”

Australia will also commit $46 million to provide technical assistance and capacity building to help eligible ASEAN countries implement their RCEP commitments, ensuring RCEP delivers on its full potential.

When finalised, the main benefits for Australia will be:

  • A new single set of rules and procedures for accessing preferential tariffs in any of the 15 RCEP markets
  • New scope for trade in services throughout the region including across telecommunications, professional and financial services.
  • Improved mechanisms for tackling non-tariff barriers including in areas such as customs procedures, quarantine and technical standards.
  • Greater investment certainty for businesses.
  • Rules on e-commerce to make it easier for businesses to trade online.
  • A common set of rules on intellectual property.
  • Agreed rules of origin that will increase the competitiveness of Australian inputs into regional production chains.

  • For more on the Regional Economic Partnership Agreement visit:

https://www.dfat.gov.au/trade/agreements/not-yet-in-force/rcep 

AHEIA appoints new Deputy Chair

AHEIA held their AGM on Thursday 26th November. Due to the Covid crisis, it was a virtual event, attended by members only.
The Chair (Joe Saina) and the CEO (Andréa Magiafoglou) thanked members for attending. Joseph Saina noted that despite the challenges of 2020, the story of horticulture for the year 2019-2020 is a positive one and exports have grown and the Association fared well.
“Advocacy and industry representation take up most of our time and resources. Relationships with members and stakeholders continues to improve due to the great job done by the CEO”.
The CEO said that the year ending June 2020 has left an indelible mark on horticultural exporters and importers, with effects likely to impact the sector for many years to come. With significant airfreight capacity shortfalls, shipping delays, port congestion and market uncertainty, among many other difficulties.
“I’ve seen AHEIA members navigating disrupted global supply chains that are unparalleled in the history of the Association. The resilience and fortitude displayed by members throughout this time has been nothing short of astounding. These efforts are recognised, valued and serve to motivate us daily in our continuing work to support members through this time”
Ms Magiafoglou said that in late March, prior to the inception of the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM), AHEIA undertook a membership survey to better understand member outlook and key concerns arising from supply chain disruptions in the early days of the pandemic. The information provided by members and ongoing work with Austrade was instrumental in developing the business case within horticulture to demonstrate the real and vital need for Federal support for airfreight reliant perishable products.

“Work in this area will be ongoing for the Association; cargo capacity is likely to remain stymied by the lack of passenger movement for several years to come. The funding support provided by the Federal Government through IFAM has certainly assisted exporters move perishable product into key markets. However, it remains important for exporters, industry groups and government bodies to continue working together and coordinate viable strategies to utilise this mechanism most effectively.”

The CEO said that sea freight has also not been immune to the impacts of COVID-19, with blank sailings, congestion surcharges, rising costs and port disruptions leading to a higher risk profile across the sector. These are member concerns that have been raised across several forums; future freight assistance support packages, and any re-imagined tranche of IFAM post June 2021, should reflect the breadth of COVID-19 shipping constraints impacting trade outcomes for both air and sea.
While the 2019/20 export data indicates a slowdown in growth trends, the numbers only reflect a
small proportion of time when supply chain disruptions were widespread.

“Despite this, data across 2019/20 landed at a volume and value that exceeded totals for 2018/19. Strong export volumes from table grapes certainly helped bolster outcomes, but delays associated with the issuance of import permits led to a close to 40% reduction in trade to Indonesia for this commodity, and the sobering outcome of unrealised export opportunities and real financial impacts at the business level. “

“The Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) entered into force on 5 July 2020, and we look to this agreement, as well as newly signed and upcoming FTAs to enhance our two-way trade opportunities with trading partners.”

The AGM included the appointment of board members, Cameron Carter (Seeka Australia) has been appointed new deputy chair, and Joseph Saina will continue in his capacity of Chairman. Continuing board members for 2020/21 include Heath Jakeman, Joseph Tullio, Mark Pidgeon, Hugh Molloy, Brian Ceresa and Mark Hall.

AHEIA thanked Chris Fairless, who has stepped down from the board. The Chairman and CEO conveyed their thanks to Joe Tullio who has been the Deputy Chair of the association since 2016. Joe will continue to sit on the board.

 

 

 

Health crisis continues for Exporters and Importers

The 2019/20 trade data for Australian fresh fruit and vegetable exports is now in; with combined fruit and vegetable exports reaching a total of 762,840 tonnes (up 4.1 per cent) valued at $1.84 billion. This result is a record breaker for the seventh consecutive year and was buoyed by strong outcomes for fruit exports at 547,137 tonnes (up 9.5 percent from 2018/19) and helped buffer a 7.4 per cent volume reduction in vegetable exports over the same time period.

Across fresh fruit, China remains the most prominent export market destination by both volume and value (156,372 tonnes; $536.5 million). However, export volume growth has eased from the substantial increases seen in previous years when strong gains in table grape and citrus exports coincided with new and/or improved market access conditions for stonefruit.

Japan has slid into the number two market for Australian fresh fruit exports by both value and volume (59,655 tonnes; $132.6 million), edging out Hong Kong which eased 4 and 4.8 per cent respectively; a reduction contributed by increased direct trade to China. Overall fruit export volumes to Japan increased by 9 per cent during 2019/20, with melon exports continuing to rise since entering the market in 2016. Singapore and Indonesia round out the top 5 markets for Australian fresh fruit exports, with Indonesia recording a 23 per cent decrease in volume driven by challenges with import licensing on table grape exports to this market.

Full year trade results for fresh vegetable exports indicate a 7.4 per cent easing in volume to 215,700 tonnes, however value remained steadier at $290 million; 3 per cent down from the previous year. Singapore remains the leading market by value (at $52.4 million), and second largest by volume after the United Arab Emirates. Of all fresh vegetable exports to Singapore, carrots accounted for around 48 per cent by volume at 13,500 tonnes and remain relatively steady compared to export volumes from previous years. Pumpkins lifted 24 per cent by volume, while broccoli exports to Singapore declined 30 per cent, mainly driven by challenging production conditions in 2019 and Covid-19 supply chain disruptions in 2020. The United Arab Emirates, Australia’s largest fresh vegetable export market by volume remained relatively steady at 36,000 tonnes at $34.2 million. Onions to the UAE lifted to 3,500 tonnes, a 78 per cent increase from 2018/19, with carrots continuing to contribute more than 80 per cent of all Australian fresh vegetable exports to the UAE.

The above trade results for 2019/20 would not be complete without a brief commentary on Covid-19 impacts on fresh horticultural exports. The data outcomes reported above only partly reflect Covid-19 disruptions. Various commodity groups are affected differently, and impacts shift as the landscape changes and seasons progress. As commented on previously, and to restate what is well known within industry, supply chain disruptions globally have created a challenging environment for fresh horticultural exporters and importers. However, a unifying shift towards coordination across horticultural industry bodies, supply chain participants, and Federal and State Governments has placed Australian exporters in good stead to optimise and expand on available opportunities to counter these ongoing challenges. The lessons and solutions we apply today will support and refine how we conduct business tomorrow, and ultimately provide a stronger and more resilient horticultural export industry in years to come.

The Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association is looking forward to holding the next Industry Forum in early 2021. The Industry Forum is designed to connect members, update industry on the state of the global market and hear directly from Australian Government representatives involved in horticulture trade. Previous years have attracted leading decision-makers involved in Australia’s international fresh produce trade with vibrant discussions covering key issues facing the sector. The Industry Forum is open to members and non-members alike. More information will be provided once details are finalised.

 

Source: Brisbane Markets – October 2020

https://issuu.com/effigy/docs/fs70_winter20?fr=sZmEwYTY3ODEz 

 

 

Horticultural export fee price hikes on hold

A July 1 start date for new export fee price hikes of more than 40 per cent has been scrapped as the Federal Government diverts its attention to COVID-19.

THE introduction of a raft of new export fees and charges for Australia’s fresh produce sector due to come into effect next month have been delayed indefinitely.
The Department of Agriculture had flagged July 1 for the introduction of new export costs for the horticulture industry.
It would have seen an average increase of 44 per cent across all fees and levies, with some charges to increase by 277 per cent.
A Department of Agriculture spokesman said because industry consultation planned for March was unable to go ahead due to COVID-19 restrictions, “we no longer expect changes to the current charges from July 1, 2020. We are monitoring the situation and will provide an update … once the next steps have been determined.”
The Department of Agriculture has been working on a new cost-recovery model for export certification services since 2015 after operating at a multimillion-dollar deficit for a number of years.
However prominent industry bodies, including the Australian Horitcultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association and AusVeg, have described the proposed model as a step too far, with grievances including an expanded cost recovery base – including $182,000 to subsidise a network of counsellors to assist during trade disruptions – and the disproportionate level of cost recovery comparative to other government departments.
If the proposed model was adopted, 48 per cent of the Department of Agriculture’s costs would be paid for by farmers and exporters, compared to the Department of Trade, where 10 per cent of its costs were funded by industry, or the Department of Industry and Science, where 15 per cent of its costs were paid for by industry.
AHEIA chief executive Andrea Magiafoglou said fruit, vegetable and flower exporters were already grappling with changes wrought by COVID-19, “to introduce high fees at this time would be very unwelcome”.

Source: The Weekly Times

Author: ALEXANDRA LASKIE

Australian horticulture export body says proposed cost rises will be unmanageable for farmers

Australia's peak horticulture export body has called on the Federal Government to reconsider plans to increase the costs of export certification services.

Eleven industry signatories, comprising key industry representative bodies from exporting horticultural industries and members of the Department’s Horticulture Export Industry Consultative Committee were united to oppose the substantial increases to export certification in a joint submission to the Department of Agriculture (DoA). The Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association (AHEIA) has united with other horticultural industry bodies to oppose these changes.

"The cost increases, of over 40 per cent for export certification services which are proposed by the Department of Agriculture in the Cost Recovery Implementation Statement Plant Exports Certification 2019-20 (CRIS), are unmanageable for the horticulture industries," AHEIA CEO Andréa Magiafoglou said. "Australian horticulture is one of the least subsidised in the OECD and horticultural exporters operate in a high-cost environment influenced by labour challenges, escalating water costs and supply chain pathways overlaid by security requirements."

The changes follow public consultation with industry that closed on 31 January 2020, but Ms Magiafoglou says it comes at a time where farmers and exporters are also facing the challenges of ongoing drought and bushfires impacting key production areas.

"The proposed changes will increase the cost of compliance by over 40 per cent and will critically impact Australia’s competitiveness and reduce export growth," she said. "We call upon the Minister for Agriculture to support the horticulture industry by not proceeding with the proposed increases to export certification. "The AHEIA understands the need for export certification requirements, as well as the need to fund the biosecurity framework to protect Australia’s borders. The AHEIA also recognises the need for the government to recover the cost of delivering these services – as long as they can be provided efficiently and charged at competitive rates."

She added: "The DoA currently recovers 48 per cent of its budget from Australian farmers and exporters which is excessive and inconsistent with other similar departments in Australia and internationally – Austrade recovers 10 per cent of its $245 million budget; the Department of Industry, Innovation & Science recovers 15 per cent of a total $508 million; and the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries recovers only 29 per cent of its total NZ$715 million budget."

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment told FreshPlaza it is reviewing cost recovery arrangements for food and plant export certification, to ensure export certification services are sustainably funded.

"It also supports Australia’s reputation as a safe, reliable supplier of high-quality food and plant products," a departmental spokesperson said. "Export fees and charges have not been revised since 2015. Biosecurity and export certification fees and charges must be adjusted to address the actual cost of delivering regulatory activities. This will ensure the exports certification system remains fit for purpose and able to support Australia’s agricultural exports."

Among the recommendations, the AHEIA has called on the Minister for Agriculture to not proceed with implementing the proposed increase in the fees and levies in the Cost Recovery Implementation Statement Plant Exports Certification 2019-20, and the Commonwealth budget allocation be increased to ensure that sufficient funding is provided to support policy development for the agriculture sector in the future.

"DoA must separate all policy functions from cost recovery to ensure integrity in the development of policy, the appropriate allocation of policy resources to Government priorities and removal of the cost on the industry for policy development," Ms Magiafoglou said. "Industry is calling on the Commonwealth Government budget allocation to reflect the Prime Minister’s stated objective of agriculture becoming a $100 billion industry by 2030, and ensure that sufficient funding is provided to support the policy development for the agriculture sector. Implementing the proposed cost recovery model now will pre-empt the Government’s agriculture strategy and limit the future growth of Australian agriculture."

For more information
Andréa Magiafoglou
Australian Horticultural Exporters and Importers Association
admin@horticulturetrade.com.au
www.horticulturetrade.com.au

Publication date: Mon 24 Feb 2020

Author: Matt Russell
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