ABGC welcomes banana export strategy

The Australian Banana Growers’ Council knows Aussie grown produce is among the best in the world and welcomes the chance to showcase this through Hort Innovation’s new export strategy, released today (May 16).

Produced using levy funds from industry and additional funding from the Australian Government, the Banana Market Mapping identifies some exciting opportunities for the nation’s growers.

While banana fruit exports in 2016/17 accounted for just 0.04 per cent of Australia’s total production, the strategy notes that differentiated and niche products could potentially find a place in markets such as Japan, China, Singapore, New Zealand and Qatar.

The strategy also suggests that there are opportunities to build markets through:

  • Flavour and nutritional claims
  • Organic
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Branding such as tattoos or dipping
  • New varieties

Australian growers are incredibly innovative and an increasing number are moving into these areas, if not already established.

Frank and Dianne Sciacca, who are behind Pacific Coast Eco Bananas at Boogan, are one of the few Aussie banana growers who currently export.

They have been supplying their organic produce to a niche market in Hong Kong since 2009 (on top of their domestic commitments.)

“We’ve been looking for like-minded eco-friendly growers who could join us to supply larger markets there,” said Mrs Sciacca.

“It’s important to emphasise that we are not taking away from any existing relationships nor competing with larger exporters. We’re looking to supply a consumer who wants to have their food grown a different way.”

She added that exporting was important as part of their overall business strategy.

“However, growers need to realise that export relationships take longer to mature, doing business is different and there are more layers in the supply chain – so it is no short term fix.

“That aside, there are opportunities worth pursuing to achieve growth.”

Hort Innovation’s strategy also notes that there will be some challenges for the industry as a whole, largely because it has been focussed on servicing the domestic market.

ABGC hopes it assists those looking to expand their business beyond Australian shores and thanks the North Queensland growers who have helped in developing the document over the past six months.

Read the summary of the banana export strategy here.

Read Hort Innovation’s Media Release here.

Hort Innovation is also encouraging growers to send in their R&D project ideas either via trade@horticulture.com.au or on the website.