New hub aims for $1b boost to region’s produce exports in five years

Ian Bushnell14 January 2020
Fresh produce

Only 3 per cent of the region’s producers are exporters. Photo: File.

A new service to help small and medium-sized food producers in the region become exporters has been launched in Canberra.

Not-for-profit Agribusiness Regional Development Association (ARDA) says the Capital Region Export Hub (CREH) aims to boost the export value of businesses in the Capital Region and Southern NSW by $1 billion by 2025.

It says the end-to-end service will help small and medium food producers across the Canberra, Monaro, Bega, Albury, Wagga, Goulburn and Cootamundra areas make their businesses export-ready through educational programs, stewardship and holistic export plans.

The Hub is funded by the Australian Government’s SME Export Hubs grant program and will complement and collaborate with existing services such as Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL), Austrade, TradeStart and the new RDA AgriFood Hub, as well as regional councils, and state and federal programs.

ARDA secretary Daryl Young said many producers would like to be exporters but did not have the time, expertise or resources.

“There are thousands of small and medium producers in the region stretching from Hilltops to the Victorian border and the Riverina to the far south coast, but the NSW Government estimates that only 3 per cent of them engage in export activities,” ARDA secretary Daryl Young said.

Produce from Pialligo Estate

Produce from Pialligo Estate was among the first air cargo of Canberra produce to leave for Singapore in 2017. Photo: Pialligo Estate.

“Some of the main export barriers for these businesses – many of them family-run – are that they are time poor, isolated and don’t have the resources to set up the systems that would enable them to deliver their unique products to international markets.

“We know there is big demand for premium foods from our region, and the new hub will dramatically reduce the burden on local producers to become export-ready by providing them with the educational and compliance support services they need.”

Some Canberra region producers have been exporting olive oil, smokehouse goods and wine to Singapore since 2017, taking advantage of the direct air link. These include Pialligo Estate, Canberra; Fedra Olive Oil, Collector; Helm Wines, Murrumbateman; Ravensworth Wines, Murrumbateman; Nick Spencer Wines, Canberra; Lark Hill, Bungendore; Mada Wines, Canberra; and Nick O’Leary Wines, Lake George.

The new Hub will begin workshops for regional businesses this month and continue them throughout the year.

Virtual technology will provide participating businesses with 24/7 access to vocational support systems and localised practical business support.

The Hub aims to increase by 10 per cent the number of regional businesses exporting their goods in the next five years, with a corresponding increase in jobs of 2500 across the region.

ARDA says it will be an integral part of a national network of export hubs developing new food export opportunities for Australian businesses.

“We believe that creating frictionless export pathways for small and family businesses in our agri-food industry is the best way to build sustainable regional communities,” Mr Young said.

ARDA is a not-for-Profit association of regionally based agricultural and related businesses with a shared vision to foster and support agribusiness development so as to create sustainable regional communities.

Regional businesses interested in taking part should contact Steve Hambridge on 0425 215 687 or Daryl Young on 0488 950 315.

Original Article published by Ian Bushnell on The RiotACT.

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