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Quality management key to export success

The quality management of export produce and supply chains is the key to ensuring Australian fresh produce export success, says Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Judith Troeth.

Senator Troeth, who was making the keynote address to the Fresh 2000 Conference in Cairns, said Australia has a reputation for safe, clean produce and it is imperative that this reputation is maintained to retain and increase Australian exports of fresh produce.

"I am pleased to note that more horticultural enterprises are adopting quality assurance systems, in fact, around 12 per cent are participating in systems such as Freshcare and SQF2000," she said.

"Exports of fresh and processed horticultural products increased by around 130 per cent in the ten years from 1988-89 to 1998-99, and now each account for half of $A1.2 billion worth of exports. The continued adoption of quality assurance systems can only assist in increasing exports.

"Asia has been, and remains, the focus of our export efforts in horticulture. However, Europe should not be forgotten, particularly as it is home to of some of the world’s largest retail chains which are at the forefront of global retailing trends."

The report Getting Fresh with Europe, launched by Senator Troeth at the Conference, illustrates the challenges posed by other Southern Hemisphere exports to Australia regaining its position in Europe.

"Getting Fresh with Europe maintains that if Australia is to compete with the best in the world, it must have an export focus that is both market driven and globally focused," Senator Troeth said. "It also reinforces the point that managing supply chains strategically is a critical part of achieving this.

"Strong supply chain management is a key requirement for selling fresh produce in the premium European and Asian markets. This means all links in a supply chain jointly boosting their competitiveness against other chains."

Senator Troeth said a second report, Supply Chain Learning for Australian Agribusiness, also launched at the conference, provides practical information on strengthening competitiveness by employing a 'whole of chain' approach. This report came out of a joint industry/Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - Australia study mission to the Netherlands in June 2000.

Senator Troeth also discussed the merger of the Australian Horticultural Corporation and the Horticultural Research and Development Corporation, trade liberalisation and WTO talks, the Horticulture Australia Council and AQIS charges applying to horticultural exports.

The full text of Senator Troeth’s speech is also available on her web site at www.affa.gov.au

See also www.australia.org.nz

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