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BGP restructures management - Prudence Barker takes over as CEO

Prudence Barker takes over as CEO of Australia-based trader, as MD Neil Barker steps up focus on expanding supply for customers in Asia
Leading Melbourne-based fresh produce trading company BGP International has announced management changes in response to strong growth over the past three years.

Expansion in BGP’s citrus and table grape volumes, which the company markets for packers in Australia, Egypt, South Africa, Pakistan, Turkey and the US, has prompted managing director Neil Barker to appoint his daughter Prudence Barker as CEO.

“Prudence is taking on the CEO role, and this will provide me with more time to build and expand our supply programmes for our extensive Asian client base,” explained Neil Barker.

With degrees in law and commerce, Prudence joined BGP International eight years ago after working as a senior consultant for Ernst Young. She has primarily been responsible for BGP's import programmes into Australia.

“Prudence brings a wealth of experience to the CEO role and has the skill set and ability to guide the further development of the business,” said Neil.

BGP International now employs 21 people spread over five countries, and handles over 2,000 containers of fruit annually, servicing over 200 clients, he noted.

“I am confident that my appointment establishes a stable management team for future growth in the business,” said Prudence. “I am looking forward to personally meeting all our suppliers and clients over the next year to further discuss their requirements.”

Neil will remain managing director with direct involvement in the various marketing programmes currently underway for BGP. “Both our packers and clients are extremely important, and I am sure the changes will enable us to continue to improve our service and value to them,” he said.

BGP’s sales team remains unchanged, with managing director Neil Barker, Asia trade manager Cindy Teoh, and export sales manager Patrick McGreesh.

 

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit Author: John Hey

Federal Budget 2019-20: New initiatives for horticultural sector

Australia’s horticultural production is valued at over $12.0 billion and employs 50,000 rural and regional Australians. Horticulture exports were valued at over $2.2 billion in 2016-17.

See below the new initiatives that were announced in the Federal Budget 2019-20. It is good to see the horticultural sector receiving some overdue attention by the Federal Government.

Enhancing Australia’s Agricultural Trade
The Government will invest $29.4 million over four years, commencing in 2019-20, in a further package of measures that will continue to strengthen Australia’s agricultural export trade.


The package comprises:
• $11.4 million over four years to support the further development of an internationally competitive and profitable horticulture sector by continuing work on horticulture market access and improving access to plant genetics and propagative material for Australian growers to promote competitiveness and sustainability;
• $6.8 million to continue the Agricultural Trade and Market Access Cooperation (ATMAC) program from the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper for a further four years from 2019-20. ATMAC has successfully funded industry for cooperation projects that break down technical barriers to trade for exports;
• $6.1 million to extend the Package Assisting Small Exporters to 2020 to assist eligible small exporters to improve their market access. This funding builds on the Government’s 2013 election commitment that provided $15.0 million over four years for projects to improve market access for small exporters.
• $5.1 million over four years to work with industry and importing countries to minimise the impact of non-tariff measures (NTMs) that can act as a barrier to achieving market access into some high-value export markets. The measure will also deliver up to 11 sector-specific reports to identify and prioritise NTMs that restrict market access or form barriers to the export trade.

Australia’s Indo-Pacific Engagement—Enhanced Engagement in Asia
The Government is investing $9.5 million over four years, starting in 2019-20, to strengthen cooperation between Australia and China on agricultural trade and food safety regulation. This work will support Australian farmers and deepen Australia’s long-term engagement with our largest market for agricultural, food, fisheries and forestry exports.

This program is part of a broader package of initiatives, led by the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio, to strengthen Australia’s economic and cultural engagement in the Indo-Pacific region, including with China.

National Agricultural Workforce Strategy
The Government will invest $1.9 million over four years, beginning in 2019-20, to develop a National Agricultural Workforce Strategy.

National Leadership for Agricultural Innovation
The Government is committing $2.9 million over three years, starting in 2019-20, to establish an advisory panel to drive national leadership of agricultural innovation and to better promote transformational, cross-commodity research and development to boost productivity and support long-term jobs in the agriculture sector.

However, it is not all good news.
Horticultural importers will likely be further impacted by poor and worsening levels of services for imports as the budget announces a 5 % reduction in average staffing levels.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources are set to collect over $399 Million in 2019-20 (up to $415 Million in 2022-23) for the provision of quarantine, inspection and certification services for passengers, cargo, mail, animals, plants, and animal or plant products arriving in Australia; and agricultural products exported from Australia. Despite significant increases in the volume, complexity and biosecurity risk of inbound trade the Federal Budget has made not provision for an expansion of the workforce (staff available for this task).

Demand for import inspections on-shore for fresh produce are set to increase 5-fold with the removal of the offshore preclearance inspection program, and limitations of DAWRs service delivery will be further compounded by the increased workload presented by the expansion of BMSB seasonal measures that will increase the surveillance task by approximately 15% in 2019-20.
As the unwilling provider of vital trade services, DAWR believe that IT solutions will be the solution to all of their problems and have announced significant further investments in this area. This is of little direct benefit to those who remain on the phone day in, day out trying to secure inspections for imported produce.

AHEIA continues to work with our major trading partners to advocate for the restoration of the offshore preclearance programme.

More budget news from www.freshplaza.com : Click here

Australian veggie exports jump in 2018

Australian fresh vegetable exports rose by 11.4% last year with Singapore retaining its spot as the leading market, while high growth rates were seen for potatoes, onions, broccoli and cauliflower.

The results were released by industry body Ausveg, whose national manager for export development Michael Coote said progress was testament to the hard work of growers who have persevered with the export process.

“The Australian vegetable industry is continuing to experience solid growth in its exports, particularly on the back of strong performing products such as carrots, potatoes and broccoli/cauliflower to different high-value Asian markets,” Coote said.

With the AUD281 million (US$199.5 million) result, the industry only needs another 12% push over two years to hit its 2020 target of AUD315 million (US$223.7 million).

The growth in volume was faster at 15.5% to reach 227,000 metric tons (MT), of which carrots accounted for almost half.

Singapore was the leading market with Australian fresh vegetable imports worth AUD50 million (US$35.5 million), followed by Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand; the latter notably provided a 54% uptick to AUD7.8 million (US$5.5 million).

The broccoli/cauliflower category was the biggest riser with growth of 24% in value to AUD22.5 million (US$16 million) and volume growth of 33.5% to 8,500MT.

Coote added the positive outcome was also the result of Ausveg and the wider industry providing opportunities for growers to increase their capability and opportunities to enter export markets.

“The Vegetable Industry Export Program, which is delivered by AUSVEG in partnership with Hort Innovation, continues to support the solid growth in fresh vegetable exports,” Coote said.

“In 2018, the program facilitated the development of export capabilities for the industry by bringing 40 buyers into Australia to see local production, taking over 40 growers on outbound trade missions, and up-skilling another 40 growers through export readiness training.

“The continued rise in the value of vegetable exports is particularly impressive when you consider that Australian vegetables are typically lower-priced products that are being grown in a high-cost environment, due to the rising costs of labour, electricity and water.”

Coote noted growers were also subject to the effects of fluctuating exchange rates, but nonetheless exports have continued to build.

“The industry is well on its way to reach the ambitious target of AUD$315 million in fresh vegetable exports by 2020 as outlined by the industry’s export strategy,” he said.

“We are working with growers to ensure they have the skills and knowhow to improve their ability to export their produce and capitalise on increasing demand for fresh, Australian-grown vegetable produce.”

Read more: 

Slowdown, what slowdown?

China's 2018 fresh fruit imports are up 36 per cent over the prior year, despite the country's slowing economic growth
China’s 2018 fresh fruit import figures reflect no signs of the country’s reported economic slowdown, recording a 36 per cent rise in value over the prior year.

According to Fresh Intelligence analysis of the latest China Customs figures, China imported a total of 4.8m tonnes of fresh fruit in 2018, worth US$6.9bn. This is up from the 3.8m tonnes valued at US$5.1bn imported in 2017, and achieved during a year when China recorded its slowest economic growth since 1990.

Imports from Chile, Thailand and the Philippines showed the greatest growth in 2018: up 68 per cent, 67 per cent and 42 per cent respectively in value terms over the previous year, the data showed.

Chile was just ahead of Thailand as the largest supplier by value due to the high prices of its cherries and grapes, Fresh Intelligence’s Wayne Prowse explained. In volume terms Chile ranked fourth after Vietnam (1.23m tonnes), the Philippines (1.16m tonnes) and Thailand (767, 472 tonnes) with 387,728 tonnes in 2018.

Meanwhile, Thai imports increased 67 per cent in value over 2017, and were dominated by durians and mangosteens.

The Philippines ranked third in import value growth terms, with mostly bananas and pineapples, and was followed by Vietnam, with dragonfruit and longans.

New Zealand imports, mostly kiwifruit and apples, saw a 21 per cent growth in value during 2018, while Australia was just behind, dominated by grapes and citrus and showing growth of 19 per cent.

The US slipped to seventh from fifth position in China’s 2018 import value rankings, and was the only major trading partner to lose value by 31 per cent, the figures showed.

The US export decline to China reflects the impact of retaliatory tariffs and stricter customs controls on US imports due to the diplomatic tensions between the two countries, which began in July 2018.

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit

Author: Luisa Cheshire

China cherry potential

China offers great export opportunities to Argentine and Australian cherry growers, says Fruta Cloud
China will become a top cherry market for newcomers Argentina and Australia, despite tariff and fumigation challenges, as cherry demand throughout the country grows, predicts Fruta Cloud.

The Shanghai-based B2B imported fruit service provider said mainland Australia, which gained cherry access last year, has a geographical and transport-cost advantage over top cherry supplier Chile. Meanwhile, Argentina, which also gained cherry access last year, can express-ship its cherries by sea three times a week.

Indeed, Fruta Cloud said it was the first company to introduce Argentine cherries to the market this season by supplying Alibaba Group’s Hema supermarkets.

Fruta Cloud said the export opportunities for Australia and Argentina cherries in China out-weigh the challenges, which for Australia include preserving fruit quality after compulsory fumigation, and for Argentina involve a 10 per cent import tariff and a cold-treatment protocol.

“As the demand for cherries is growing stronger, it is believed that China will become one of the most important exporting markets for Argentinian and Australian cherries. Lucky Chinese consumers are provided with more options for cherries,” Fruta Cloud said in a press release.

Chile is currently China’s top Southern Hemisphere cherry supplier, shipping over 15,000 tonnes of cherries via ocean and sea from late October to the end of February, Fruta Cloud said.

“Chilean cherries have been performing well in recent years owing to their outstanding quality, such as large size and good firmness,” the company said in statement. “Thus Chilean cherries win a good reputation among consumers. In addition, the huge marketing investment from [Chilean exporter association] Asoex in China has also played a significant role in this item’s success.”

After years targetting China’s first-tier cities, Chilean cherry exporters are now focusing on the second and third-tier cities, which have great consumption potential, Fruta Cloud added.

Fruta Cloud said it helped Asoex launch Chilean cherries at Shuangfu Wholesale Market in Chongqing in January this year. “This event successfully ignited the passion for Chilean cherries in Midwest China,” Fruta Cloud said.

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit

Author: Luisa Cheshire 

Berries Australia: Govt must do more to address labour shortage

Industry body Berries Australia has welcomed the extension of the skilled visa program but says the government needs to go further to address the underlying farm labor shortage.

The change involves moving most agricultural occupations from the short-term list to the regional occupations list which makes visa holders eligible for a four-year visa, double the current term.

Executive director of Berries Australia, Rachel Mackenzie, said that growers in many regions welcomed this decision as the two year turn over for their more senior staff resulted in significant disruption to their businesses.

“However. the government decision only covers skilled occupations and not unskilled labour such as fruit-picking. A new Agriculture Visa or improved Pacific Seasonal Workers program would address farm labour shortages by allowing farmers to hire a dedicated overseas
workforce on a temporary basis,” said Mackenzie.

The US$1.4 billion berry category is now the single largest fresh produce category in Australia and consumption is increasing across the county. To continue to grow, the berry industry needs access to reliable workers and this announcement will go some way toward meeting
these needs.

“Berries Australia is committed to ensuring that growers can access an effective workforce to meet their needs, as part of that we are keen to look at ways to increase the number of Australians employed on farm,” Mackenzie said.

“It may seem counter-intuitive but being able to access the skills we need from overseas means that berry businesses can be more profitable and in turn, employ more locals.”

Source: https://www.freshfruitportal.com 

New standard for fresh produce airfreight

IATA has rolled out CEIV Fresh, a new industry standard designed specifically for air transportation of fruit and veg


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has launched a new industry certification—the Center for Excellence for Perishable Logistics (CEIV Fresh)—to improve the handling and the transport by air of perishable products.

Commenting on the initiative, Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: “Perishable goods is a growing market for air cargo. Ensuring that these delicate and short shelf-life products reach the customer unspoiled with minimal waste and loss is essential. Shippers will have assurance that CEIV Fresh certified companies are operating to the highest quality and standards in the transport of perishable products.”

The specific time and temperature requirements for food and plant products makes the handling and transporting of perishable products challenging, he added. The CEIV Fresh programme meets these exacting requirements primarily based on the IATA Perishable Cargo Regulations (PCR) which combines professional regulatory and operational input from industry and government experts.

Launch partners

The Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK), Cathay Pacific, Cathay Pacific Services Limited (CPSL) and Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (HACTL) were the first organisations to pilot the CEIV Fresh program taking a community approach to certification, the IATA revealed. This unique community approach helps align the needs and responsibilities of all stakeholders involved in the handling of perishable goods, the IATA said.

“We took a community approach to developing CEIV Fresh recognising that the successful shipment requires the alignment of many stakeholders. Shippers can have peace of mind knowing that every entity handling their goods is operating to the same standards. Understanding the value of this to the success of its customers, the Airport Authority Hong Kong pioneered the world’s first CEIV Fresh certified airport community,” said Glyn Hughes, IATA global head of cargo.

Fred Lam, chief executive officer, Airport Authority Hong Kong, added: “We are delighted to be the first airport community worldwide recognised by IATA under the CEIV Fresh programme, which is a big encouragement to and affirmation of the capability of the Hong Kong airport community in handling perishable products. HKIA is the world’s busiest cargo airport since 2010. With the new certification, HKIA is well-placed to capture the increasing growth opportunities in the market for fresh and perishable goods.”

http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit 

New Zealand - Spotlight on quality avocado to Australia

Jen Scoular:

Normally there is a collective sigh of relief as NZ finishes an avocado export season but this year it's a different story. They experienced significant quality issues post-November, especially for their avocados going into the Australian market.

NZ harvests avocados five months of the year for export markets, and aim to harvest just in time to be cooled and packed, loaded on to the appropriate vessel, arrive in Australia to be cleared, trucked to the distribution centre or wholesale market and be available to customer orders.

Avocados are unlike kiwifruit and apples where they are all harvested at once, then coolstored until the market is ready. The tree is the coolstore, and post-harvest needs to be as speedy as possible.

Another challenge is that the New Zealand growing season is cooler and wetter than growing seasons in Western Australia, Chile, Peru and Mexico — who are NZ competitors.

 Source: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/the-country/news/article.cfm?c_id=16&objectid=12210443 

Australia scores improved citrus, carrot access to Indonesia with signed FTA

Australia’s National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed the recently signed free trade agreement with Indonesia, which will give improved market access for a range of agricultural products including carrots and citrus.

It said “wide-ranging wins” for farmers were at the heart of the much much-anticipated Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA), signed in Indonesia on March 4.

“Today represents real tangible benefits to the hip pocket of many Australian farmers,” said National Farmers’ Federation CEO Tony Maharsaid. “IA-CEPA will deliver improved market access for live cattle, feed grains, beef, sheepmeat, dairy, sugar, fruit, carrots, potatoes and honey.”

The tariff relief represents an extra AUD$5-10 million to Australia’s fresh vegetable exports per annum, Mahar said.

Carrots, Australia’s largest vegetable export, are at the forefront of the agreement with tariffs to be cut to 10% (down from 25%) for 5000 metric tons (MT) per year, increasing to 10,000MT after 10 years, and tariffs eliminated after 15 years.

There will also be improved access for key Australian citrus exports.

For mandarins, the tariff will be cut immediately to 10% (from 25%) for 7,500MT per year and reduced over time down to 0% after 20 years for an unlimited volume.

For oranges, there will be duty-free access for 10,000MT, increasing 5% each year, while for lemons and limes here will be duty-free access for 5,000MT, increasing 2.5% each year

Tariffs on potatoes will be cut immediately to 10% (from 25%) for 10,000MT per year, and after five years tariff further reduced to 5% for 12,500MT per year.

Source: https://www.freshfruitportal.com 

Australia, Indonesia sign FTA

Scheduled signing of trade agreement expected to end months-long period of uncertainty for exporters

Australian trade minister, Simon Birmingham met with Enggartiasto Lukita, trade minister for Indonesia and signed a highly anticipated free trade agreement (FTA).

The deal was planned to be signed before the end of 2018, however, tensions surrounding the location of Australia’s embassy in Israel rattled the leaders’ relationship.

Thankfully, today the agreement was signed opening up opportunity to Australian horticulture.

“Our farmers will export more produce because of this deal,” Australian minister for agriculture, David Littleproud said. “Preferential deals will be put in place or duty will be removed for more than 99 per cent of exports to Indonesia,” he added.

Citrus and vegetables are reportedly sectors that will benefit, and Ausveg national manager, Michael Coote told ABC News the agreement could have Australia’s major carrot and potato growers back on Indonesia’s supermarket shelves “almost immediately”.

“Indonesia is a major trading partner close to our shores, so there are benefits in terms of reduced freight times.

“Having access back into this market that is so close, has such a large population and does have an appetite for Australian produce is a real boom for the vegetable industry,” he said.

Littleproud said improved duty-free quotas will be in place for citrus and other horticultural products.

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit 

Author: Camellia Aebischer 

Plant Biosecurity Advice 2019-P03 - Release of the draft report for the review of biosecurity import requirements for fresh avocado fruit from Chile

28 February 2019

This Biosecurity Advice notifies stakeholders of the release of the draft report for the review of biosecurity import requirements for fresh avocado fruit from Chile.

The draft report proposes that importation of fresh avocado fruit from all commercial production areas of Chile be permitted, subject to a range of biosecurity requirements.

The department has now published the draft report for a 60 calendar day public consultation period, closing on 29 April 2019.

Stakeholders are invited to have their say on the draft report. The department will consider all stakeholder comments received during the consultation period in preparing a final report.

The department announced the commencement of this risk analysis on 23 March 2018, via Biosecurity Advice 2018-05, advising it would be progressed as a review of biosecurity import requirements.

The draft report identifies seven quarantine pests associated with fresh avocado fruit from Chile that require risk management measures to reduce the biosecurity risk to an acceptable level. The quarantine pests identified are:

  • Fruit flies: Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata)
  • Mealybugs: grape mealybug (Pseudococcus maritimus)
  • Thrips: Chilean flower thrips (Frankliniella australis), tamarugo thrips (Frankliniella gemina) and western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis)
  • Mites: avocado brown mite (Oligonychus punicae) and avocado red mite (Oligonychus yothersi).

 

  • The draft report proposes risk management measures, in combination with operational systems, to reduce the risks posed by the seven quarantine pests so as to achieve the appropriate level of protection for Australia. These measures include:
  • area freedom, fruit treatment (such as cold disinfestation treatment) or hard condition of fruit (for the Hass cultivar only) for Mediterranean fruit fly
  • consignment freedom verified by pre-export visual inspection and, if detected, remedial action for grape mealybug, Oligonychus spider mites and thrips
  • The draft report and more information about this risk analysis are available on the department’s website. Printed copies of the report are available on request.

The department invites stakeholders interested in receiving information and updates on biosecurity risk analyses to subscribe via the department’s online subscription service. By subscribing to Biosecurity Risk Analysis Plant, you will receive Biosecurity Advices and other notifications relating to plant biosecurity policy, including this risk analysis.

Dr Marion Healy
First Assistant Secretary
Biosecurity Plant Division

Source: http://www.agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity 

 

Agriculture a winner of Indonesia trade deal

The Hon David Littleproud MP
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources


Monday 4 March 2019

• Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement signed today
• Increases livestock, beef and sheep meat, grains, sugar, dairy and citrus exports
• Builds on the long-standing trading relationship Australia shares with Indonesia

Australian farmers are big winners in the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) which was signed today.

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said once in force the deal would help farmers sell more product.

“Our farmers will export more produce because of this deal,” Minister Littleproud said.

“We’re giving our farmers more options and creating competition for Australian produce.

“Beef and sheep farmers are big winners – tariffs will disappear and more cattle will be exported.

“All tariffs on beef and sheep meat will be eliminated over five years with most eliminated immediately. At the moment they sit at 5 per cent.

“The first 575,000 head of live male cattle are now duty free, growing to 700,000 over six years.

“Sugar tariffs will be slashed from a maximum 12 per cent to 5 per cent.

“The first 500,000 tonnes of grain per year will also be duty free and that will grow by 5 per cent a year.

“Improved duty free quotas will also be put in place for citrus and horticultural products.

“Also we’re increasing work and holiday visas for Indonesians from 1000 to 5000 which makes a big difference for producers who need seasonal workers.

“Preferential deals will be put in place or duty will be removed for more than 99 per cent of exports to Indonesia.

“Since coming to government, the Coalition has delivered six major free trade agreements.

“These are key to realising our ambition of a $100 billion agricultural industry by 2030.

“It will help boost farm gate prices, driving regional growth and jobs.”

Source: http://minister.agriculture.gov.au/littleproud/Pages/Media-Releases/Agriculture-a-winner-of-Indonesia-trade-deal.aspx