16 September, 2023
New trade initiative to grow produce exports
THE largest and most ambitious trade initiative in Australian horticulture has been given the green light with a host of partners signing on to an historic $130 million program, the Fresh and Secure Trade Alliance (FASTA).
Delivered through the federal horticulture Research and Development Corporation, Hort Innovation, and led by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the eight-year program will see key Aussie export stakeholders and officials joining forces to help protect and grow Australia’s horticultural exports.
As part of the program, FASTA will also boost biosecurity initiatives to solidify Australia’s strong reputation in pest-management and as a responsible trading partner for years to come.
Insect pests are a major challenge for Australia’s horticultural producers as they impact production and domestic and international trade. Australia’s trading partners require evidence that Australian horticulture exports are insect pest free.
FASTA’s research program is focused on two areas – delivering robust and timely datasets to underpin market access negotiations; and increasing understanding about fruit fly and other key pests.
Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt said the research would be able to be used by Australia’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in international trade negotiations or by states and territories in supporting domestic trade.
“This initiative will reduce the impact of endemic pests on sustainable horticulture crop production, improve Australia’s preparedness for future exotic pest incursions and facilitate a national, industry-driven and coordinated approach to research activity supporting horticultural market access and improvements,” Minister Watt said.
“Many of Australia’s biggest trading partners are passionate about pest-management, and this project will help Australia open and maintain these markets and the billions of dollars in annual trade they represent to our horticulture industry.”
Hort Innovation chief executive officer Brett Fifield said export growth had never been more important for the $16 billion horticulture sector, with most industries identifying enhancing and diversifying export markets as a priority.
“The Australian horticulture sector is projected to surge by up to 22.5 per cent in value by 2030, primarily due to increased exports in trade-focused commodities,” he said.
“Through streamlined evidence-based data collection for the Australian Government’s trade negotiations and strengthened biosecurity measures, FASTA will support this growth.”