'Chemical Use for Export Toolkit' helping cherry and summerfruit growers

The Victorian Government is supporting cherry and summerfruit growers across the state realise their export market aspirations by building capacity and managing supply chain risks.

Minister for Agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas announced the project as part of the first tranche of the ‘Food to Market’ program to support projects that will add value to food grown and processed in Victoria.

The $15 million Food to Market program is funded through the Victorian government’s Agriculture Strategy and will help to deliver on its vision for a Victorian agriculture sector that is strong, innovative and sustainable.

A partnership of three substantial industry groups, Cherry Growers Australia (CGA), Summerfruit Australia Limited (SAL) and Australian Table Grape Association (ATGA) have been awarded $750,000 to deliver a ‘Chemical Use for Export Toolkit’. 

The project will provide evidence-based, practical advice to Victorian businesses planning to export their produce. 

The project will assist the horticulture industry to maintain and grow existing export markets and support access to new export markets by promoting on-farm chemical use practices that will build export flexibility and ensure compliance with importing country requirements for multiple markets.

Project outputs include maximum residue level (MRL) apps along with training and resources to help growers understand and comply with the complexities of export MRL compliance.

The project is a unique collaboration opportunity for three peak industry bodies to work with the Victorian Government to share ideas to build resources for their grower bases.

Agriculture minister, Mary-Anne Thomas said the Food to Market program is an excellent example of how the Victorian Government is providing timely support to agribusinesses impacted by the pandemic, while capitalising on opportunities to expand into new markets over the longer term.

“We are pleased to support our cherry, summerfruit and table grape growers ensure that their wonderful produce can expand its reach and be enjoyed by even more consumers around the world,” she said

Summerfruit Australia CEO, Trevor Ranford said this project will build on an earlier Summerfruit/Agriculture Victoria MRL project and help ensure Australian stone fruit meets the required standards for the export (and domestic) market.

Cherry Growers Australia president Tom Eastlake said the project will improve export confidence for Victorian cherry growers and benefit both new and experienced exporters.

“Australian cherry growers produce some of the highest quality cherries in the world. These cherries are recognised throughout the world for their premium quality and flavour, underpinned by excellent production methods and fast delivery to market.

“Any improvement to export capability stands to particularly benefit Victorian cherry growers as they are always among the highest exporting growers nationally each year.”

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