Australian carrot exports rose more than 7 per cent last year, according to latest figures.
While exports of fresh vegetables were down overall in 2020, carrot exports increased in both volume and value to become a $100 million industry.
"With hospitality and the food service sector shutting down in Australia as a result of the pandemic, the exact same situation was happening in export markets," incoming AUSVEG chief executive Michael Coote said.
"Restaurants, cafes, hotels, bars and pubs were all shut down and people were eating from home.
"So retail demand went up considerably in a lot of countries, as it did here … and carrots, as a staple vegetable that we use in the majority of the dinners, did too.
"The same thing was happening in Singapore, Hong Kong and all of our major markets."
More than 110,000 tonnes of carrots were exported last year with the majority sent to Asia and the Middle East, Mr Coote said.
Room for expansion
Western Australia accounted for 85 per cent of carrot exports.
Mr Coote says there is room for the industry to expand but labour issues, freight logistics, and rising regulatory costs were concerning.
"We can grow a lot more product in Australia. It's just a matter of finding a home for it, so export markets is where that growth can come from."
Pumpkin exports also bucked the trend in 2020, growing 16 per cent in value to $5.8 million.
About 10 tonnes of butternut pumpkins were shipped out of Darwin earlier this month, bound for Singapore.
The pumpkins were grown near Katherine, southeast of Darwin and are believed to be the first pumpkins exported directly from the NT in nearly two decades.
Source: ABC Landline