Strong Asian demand drives Aussie fresh veg exports to new highs

Strong Asian demand drives Aussie fresh veg exports to new highs article image

Australia’s fresh vegetable exports increased by 11.4 per cent in value and 15.5 per cent in volume last year, driven by strong demand from Asia.

Australia’s fresh vegetable exports grew to AUD$281 million in 2018 on the back of strong growth in key export markets.

In Singapore, vegetable exports grew 7.5 per cent in value to $50.5 million – the first time over $50 million).

In Japan, they rose 8.7 per cent to $32 million and Thailand saw 54 per cent growth to $7.8 million.

The volume of Australian fresh vegetable exports has also seen strong growth, which has contributed to the rise in value.

The total volume of Australian fresh vegetable exports increased 15.5 per cent to 227,000 tonnes, with increases across most major markets, including Singapore (11 per cent increase to 30,000 tonnes), Japan (11 per cent increase to 11,500 tonnes) and Thailand (over 100 per cent increase to 10,500 tonnes).

Strongest performers

Carrots remained the strongest export performer in 2018 at 113,000 tonnes, increasing in value by 5.1 per cent to $98 million.

Other key vegetable exports including potato, onion, celery, broccoli and cauliflower, all increased in value and volume last year.

AUSVEG National Manager – Export Development Michael Coote says much of the success can be contributed to vegetable growers persevering with a push into key export markets.

Also, AUSVEG – Australia’s peak industry body for the vegetable and potato industries – and other industry bodies has done much work to provide more export opportunities for growers.

“The Australian vegetable industry is continuing to experience solid growth in its exports, particularly on the back of strong performing products such as carrots, potatoes and broccoli/cauliflower to different high-value Asian markets,” said Mr Coote.

The Vegetable Industry Export Program, which is delivered by AUSVEG in partnership with Hort Innovation, continues to support the solid growth in fresh vegetable exports.

Last year, the program paved the way for 40 international buyers to visit Australia to see local production.Picture1

Also, more than 40 Australian growers took part in outbound trade missions, while another 40 growers were trained in export readiness.

Lower-priced products in a high-cost environment

“The continued rise in the value of vegetable exports is particularly impressive when you consider that Australian vegetables are typically lower-priced products that are being grown in a high-cost environment, due to the rising costs of labour, electricity and water,” said Mr Coote.

“As such, even as they experience vulnerability to fluctuating exchange rates that make it harder for vegetable growers to compete in a global market, our exports continue to build.”

Despite the challenges, the industry has increased its focus on boosting the value and volume of vegetable exports, he said.

Continuing work by AUSVEG, Hort Innovation and other groups is helping to build the exporting capability of Australian growers and provide opportunities to build relationships with foreign buyers.

“The industry is well on its way to reach the ambitious target of AUD$315 million in fresh vegetable exports by 2020 as outlined by the industry’s export strategy,” Mr Coote said.

“We are working with growers to ensure they have the skills and knowhow to improve their ability to export their produce and capitalise on increasing demand for fresh, Australian-grown vegetable produce.” 

Change in export markets: 2017 to 2018


Value 2018 (AUD$) 

Change (%) 

Volume 2018 (t) 

Change (%) 


50.5 million 





32 million 





22.8 million 




 Hong Kong

18.9 million 





7.8 million 




 All countries

281 million 




Source: Global Trade Atlas, Trade Map - February 2019

Change in vegetable commodity exports: 2017 to 2018


Value 2018 (AUD$) 

Change (%) 

Volume 2018 (t) 

Change (%) 


98 million 





32 million 





24 million 





22.5 million 





7.8 million 




 All commodities

281 million 




Source: Global Trade Atlas, Trade Map - February 2019


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