Today I spoke with Susie Green CEO of the Apple and Pear Growers Association of SA Inc., and Executive Officer at Cherry Growers SA. Susie has just returned from a trip to Vietnam looking at the export potential for South Australian fruit growers. As large portions of the Emmetts customer base in South Australia are horticulturalist, I was interested in finding out what the potential benefits are for SA growers.
The good news is, like many countries food safety is a big issue for Vietnamese consumers. There have been a few issues within their locally produced food, as well as the food coming across the boarder from China. There is an understanding within the population that Australia’s clean and green reputation is known and respected by consumers.
In January 1, 2015 the Vietnamese Government closed their boarders to imports as they work through a process of trade approval on a variety of products. Currently, only table grapes, mandarins and oranges from Australia are approved for import. The Australian government is currently working with the Vietnamese government to allow cherries, to be followed by stone fruit and then apples and pears.
There is opportunity for South Australian growers to gain recognition of Pest Free Areas (PFAs) which will provide improved market access to Vietnam. There may also be research opportunities between the two trading regions.
Vietnamese consumers love fruit, and have a great love of Australian cherries. They are currently importing them from the USA but once approved it is believed Australian cherry producers will have access to this large market again.
The market opportunity is for premium fruit, with customers preferring large apples and large cherries. In Vietnam, 60% of the population is under 35, in a population of 93 million. It is projected that by 2020 there will be 33 million middle class who will be potential consumers of Australian produce.
Receiving recognition Pest Free Areas will provide opportunity to increase the amount of produce sold offshore. As Susie said “The more fruit we can take offshore, the better the domestic prices will be. This will provide a steadier baseline price for suppliers. Tasmania is seeing the benefits of their PFA already as they have turned their market around through export.” With better market access the Apple and Pear Growers Association of South Australia believe that there is room for 10% growth in production, which is good news for everyone.
Susie Green, CEO, Apple and Pear Association of SA Inc. http://apgasa.com/. Photos supplied by Susie Green.