NT mango growers to benefit from exports

Mango exports will be the topic of conversation when the Federal Minister for Agriculture, the Hon. Barnaby Joyce, visits mango producers in the Katherine region on Friday, 21st November. He will be joined by the Northern Territory Minister for Primary Industry and Fisheries, the Hon. Willem Westra van Holthe as they announce the Mango Export Plan, which will see mango exports increase by 100% over the next three years.

Chairman of the Australian Mango Industry Association (AMIA), Gavin Scurr, said that the visit highlights the Minister’s commitment to developing agriculture in northern Australia.

“We have recently gone through the process of developing a 3-year export plan with the aim of doubling mango exports, which will drive profits for mango growers. The plan was developed with input from mango growers, exporters and the Queensland, Western Australian, Northern Territory and Federal Governments. It is an example of how growers can lead the development and implementation of strategy for the benefit of the whole industry and we will be calling on players from across the industry to work with us to grow mango exports and make this plan happen,” he said.

The Australian mango industry has pledged to increase profit to growers by 20% over the next five years, and exports will play a crucial role. AMIA say it is a big figure, but one they believe is achievable.

Australia currently exports between 4,000 and 5,000 tonnes of mangoes, and under the new export plan this will increase to between 8,000 to 10,000 tonnes by the 2016 / 2017 mango season. The plan will focus on four areas; industry cohesiveness, consistent supply of mangoes for export markets, evaluating market attractiveness and improving current export protocols.

“The mango industry and northern Australia will see other benefits that are a direct result of increased exports. These benefits include the creation and support of jobs, increased investment in northern Australia and greater profit margins for growers,” Mr Scurr said.

Mr Scurr said that AMIA were very excited about changes the Minister has made to what is now known as Horticulture Innovation Australia. “This body has the mechanism to allow industry to invest in strategic areas. We have prepared and submitted a funding application to Horticulture Innovation Australia and if approved, it will enable us to put our plan into action. With the support of the Government and Horticulture Innovation Australia, we will be able to unlock the potential of export markets,” Mr Scurr said.

The AMIA welcomes the Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to expanding international market access for Australian mangoes. In addition to recently concluded free trade deals with Japan, Korea and China which will be of huge benefit to the local industry, the AMIA has also been working closely with the Australian Government to progress a work plan that will facilitate exports of Australian mangoes to the USA. The Department of Agriculture has been negotiating the work plan with US authorities, to ensure that the working arrangement is viable and beneficial to the Australian mango industry.

Mr Scurr said he is hopeful that the work plan will be finalised soon to allow Australian mangoes to be traded to the USA this season. “The first year of the project will be about establishing a working protocol and learning the best way to manage logistics. Once in the market, we will be able to drive demand and the amount of fruit being exported will increase in future seasons,” Mr Scurr said.

Mr Scurr said he was confident that Australian mangoes would be traded to the USA this season.  “The first year of the project will be about establishing a working protocol and learning the best way to manage logistics. Once in the market, we will be able to drive demand and the amount of fruit being exported will increase in future seasons,” Mr Scurr said.

The development of the export plan and the trade deal with the USA are further victories for the Australian mango industry, after the approval of the Plant Health Australia and the Emergency Plant Pest Response levies came into effect in July.

“There was some opposition of these levies in the Senate and Mr Joyce was instrumental in making sure that common sense prevailed and the levies, which were supported by a majority of mango growers, were left unchanged. These levies put the mango industry in a strong position to deal with any pest incursions that may happen in the future,” Mr Scurr said.

The project to drive the mango industry Export Plan has been developed by AMIA with the assistance of the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries, the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Trade & Investment Queensland and the Western Australia Department of Agriculture and Food.