In June Growcom hosted the Queensland Horticulture Export Congress. Presented in partnership with AUSVEG and the Queensland Government, the Export Congress explored current trends, key challenges, and upcoming opportunities.
Over 100 growers and industry supply chain representatives attended the Congress to hear about Queensland’s horticultural trade performance during COVID, learn more about current research being carried out by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) and hear directly from exporters navigating the challenges of exporting during the pandemic.
Speaking at the event, Mulgowie Farming National Sales Manager Shane Quinn explained how the pandemic led to a pivot in how the company approached export.
“We are normally very private and keep information to ourselves, but we realised early on we needed to share more in order to overcome what we knew was coming. We compete fiercely for the domestic market, but when it comes to export it is more ‘Team Australia’,” he said.
The Congress was told how the vegetable industry came together to share information such as volumes, so peak industry body AUSVEG could lobby for the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM).
Also speaking at the Congress was Jodie Campbell from DAF who presented on the industry’s pilot project – Improving the Competitiveness of Fresh Vegetable Exports. Under the project DAF is working with vegetable exporters to investigate the viability of exporting vegetables via sea freight.
“We are testing a range of temperatures and atmospheric conditions over time in our purpose-built post-harvest facilities and a range of packaging options that will better suit sea freight conditions,” Ms Campbell said.
“Results from the study are promising with the quality and shelf life of broccoli for shipment to Japan and Taiwan improved using modified atmosphere bags where ice does not directly contact the broccoli.
“We’ve also demonstrated that sweet corn can be successfully exported by sea with the husk on which is preferred by Japanese customers and using controlled atmosphere containers to retain a fresh approach.”