Growers of soft fruit from NSW, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania are hoping a study tour to Indonesia will open doors for future exports.
Two members of Y.V. Fresh at Silvan (50km east of Melbourne) joined the study tour, held last week, which looked at retail and wholesale market options for prime berries and cherries.
The group’s members hope the tour will lead to seasonal sales of up to 15tonnes of soft fruit such as raspberries and blackberries along with 20 tonnes of cherries, and more than 100tonnes of blueberries in the next three years.
Y.V. Fresh sales manager Jeff Matthews was invited to join the tour, which is part-supported by the NSW Department of Primary Industries, because of his background in marketing fresh produce and consumer goods. ‘‘While there, I’ll be looking at issues such logistics, customers and pricing,’’ he said.
Y.V. Fresh was established in 2007 by a core of 12 growers and now represents 32 suppliers nationally.
Mr Matthews said individual growers were too small to warrant large supermarket-direct supply in Australia and too busy to chase exports.
‘‘They’re not big enough or they don’t have the expertise in sales and the supply chain.’’
He said growers were busy enough just growing premium fruit, without trying to find the time to look at marketing it as well.
He said applying for expert support from Farming Together had seen the group compile an export plan.
‘‘It has helped us enormously,’’ Mr Matthews said.
‘‘We now understand all the elements, even down to the differences between countries and markets. Six months ago, before we got this help, we had very little idea about it all.’’
The national Farm Co-operatives and Collaboration pilot program is a two-year $13.8million initiative from the Federal Government designed to help agricultural groups value-add, secure premium pricing, scale-up production, attract capital investment, earn new markets or secure lower input costs.
■For more information, visit: www.farmingtogether.com.au