Horticulture

Promoting apple and pear export

By Country News

Apple and Pear Australia has appointed an industry services and export manager, correcting what chief executive officer Phil Turnbull said was a ‘‘historical imbalance’’ of investment and focus.

Justin Smith, who has previously worked for Belamy’s Organic, Coles and Murray Goulburn Co-Operative, has been named in the role, with Mr Turnbull stating it will help to improve market access and re-engage growers with export markets.

‘‘The appointment of an Industry Services and Readiness Manager signals the commencement of our Market Access and Export Readiness project which aims to optimise growers’ abilities to take part in export,’’ Mr Turnbull said.

The apple and pear market currently relies on a single domestic market to absorb increasing product volume, with overall exports declining from above 18 per cent 20 years ago to below three per cent of production.

‘‘It’s an inconvenient truth that the more you grow, the more you have to sell,’’ Mr Turnbull said.

‘‘Productivity gains indicate our growers are operating at the leading edge of best practice globally, but without commensurate focus on developing markets for supply, we risk inadvertently contributing to flat and declining pricing.’’

Mr Smith will be focused on growing awareness of export opportunities, trade and certificate requirements and assisting growers to better position themselves and their product in competitive overseas markets.

As part of his induction to the role, Mr Smith will undertake a tour of growing regions, developing his understanding of growers’ capabilities, key concerns and aspirations for taking part in export.