A consignment of Aussie cherries bound for Korea has become the first horticultural shipment to benefit from more flexible inspection arrangements.
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said under the new arrangements exporting horticultural produce will be cheaper and more efficient, while maintaining Australia’s high biosecurity standards.
Mr Joyce, said the consignment was inspected in Tasmania by an industry authorised officer and had successfully cleared Korean quarantine.
Removing unnecessary red tape is critical to achieving a fair return at the farmgate, he said.
“Cherry producers and exporters can now employ or have their own staff trained as authorised officers to undertake inspections for select protocol markets, without needing to book a departmental officer,” Mr Joyce said.
This saves time and money as they don’t have to pay for a government officer to undertake the inspection.
It also provides greater flexibility and speed, which is crucial for fresh produce with a short shelf life.
Improved market access
“These particular cherries are being exported by an orchardist – reducing the input cost and increasing flexibility is a direct saving for the farmer,” Mr Joyce said.
Cherry exports in Tasmania increased by 30 per cent in the 2014-15 season, thanks to improved market access to South Korea and other parts of Asia.
And as an added bonus, the first of two tariff cuts under the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) have now come into force.
Under the ChAFTA agreement, tariffs on most horticultural products will be abolished over the next four years.
“Under the Government's Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, access to premium markets for horticulturists is being further boosted with $200 million to improve biosecurity surveillance and analysis nationally and $12.4 million to modernise Australia's food export traceability systems to further enhance our food safety credentials.”
For information on authorised officers, visit: agriculture.gov.au/export/controlled-goods/plants-plant-products/ao