Mango ex­port boost tipped for North

The Morning Bulletin - - ON THE RECORD - TESS IKONOMOU

NORTH Queens­land mango grow­ers are wel­com­ing pro­posed in­creased ac­cess to for­eign mar­kets un­der a new pro­ject aim­ing to boost Aus­tralian ex­ports into China.

The pro­ject, a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the Co­op­er­a­tive Re­search Cen­tre for De­vel­op­ing North­ern Aus­tralia, Univer­sity of Queens­land and the State Gov­ern­ment, will be iden­ti­fy­ing bar­ri­ers for mango ex­ports into China.

Bowen Gumlu Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Carl Walker said new mar­kets would help keep the Aus­tralian mango in­dus­try vi­able into the fu­ture.

“It’s be­come bloody tough in farming and we need all the help we can get to suc­ceed,” he said. “All the big play­ers have got to re­mem­ber we should sup­port Aus­tralia first and im­port­ing over­seas prod­ucts that are cheaper is un­der­min­ing our in­dus­try.

“I don’t be­lieve the con­sumer is that con­cerned about a few ex­tra cents to keep Aus­tralians in work. Farm­ers across the na­tion are strug­gling to make ends meet.

“Our costs have gone up, up, up, and the price we’re get­ting is go­ing down, down, down.”

Mr Walker said the Aus­tralian mar­ket was a small one in com­par­i­son with neigh­bour­ing na­tions with hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple.

“In some months our mar­ket is over sup­plied and we need to chase those new ones,” he said.

“I don’t think China is the be all or end all, we also need to pur­sue smaller mar­kets with our Asian neigh­bours such as Ja­pan, which would be just as ben­e­fi­cial in the long-term as well.

“We shouldn’t ne­glect other Asian coun­tries closer to us.”

Mr Walker said Fed­eral Gov­ern­ments needed to take into ac­count the ef­fects free trade agree­ments could have on Aus­tralian grow­ers.

“There are 25 mil­lion peo­ple in Aus­tralia and we grow enough food for 40-60 mil­lion, so even a small in­take can cre­ate an over­sup­ply,” he said.

The $2.24 mil­lion re­search pro­ject, which is ex­pected to be com­pleted by mid-2021, will use tools in sup­ply chain man­age­ment to re­solve any is­sues for get­ting man­goes into China. Par­tic­i­pants in the re­search will work with ex­ist­ing cus­tomers in China to test the ef­fi­cacy of new chain man­age­ment and qual­ity mon­i­tor­ing strate­gies while an Aus­tralian body based in Bris­bane will mon­i­tor re­quired biose­cu­rity pro­to­cols.

Photo: Emily Smith

EX­PORT PUSH; Bowen Gumlu Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Carl Walker.

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