From Bundaberg to Beijing: Aussie veg growers chase new frontiers

06-Aug-2013

China’s 1.34 billion-strong population represents one of the biggest opportunities for the export of Australian vegetables this century. While Australian decision-makers continue to discuss the nation as the potential “food bowl for Asia”, without the know-how, many producers simply are unaware of where to start. 

The 2013 Exporting to China Symposium for Vegetable Growers, held by AUSVEG in June, equipped Australian vegetable growers with the knowledge to effectively deal with the ‘dragon’.

“We are currently living in the Asian century. As the Chinese middle class continues to rapidly expand, the demand for quality imported produce in the region is growing, and the purpose of this seminar was to ensure that Australian vegetable growers are poised to take full advantage of this,” said AUSVEG spokesperson, Hugh Gurney.

AUSVEG is the leading voice in horticulture representing Australia’s 7,000 vegetable growers.

The Exporting to China Symposium for Vegetable Growers was held at Jupiters Gold Coast on Sunday 2 June for over 80 industry members. Speakers included Dr Fanqiao Meng from the College of Resources and Environmental Sciences at China Agricultural University in Beijing, and Mr Trevor Lee of Asian markets and tourism development consultancy, Travconsult.

A comprehensive rundown of the event is featured in the July/August edition of leading industry publication, Vegetables Australia.

Dr Meng highlighted that Chinese consumers had traditionally opted for cheaper, local produce of a lower standard, but were now increasingly health conscious and seeking higher quality product, regardless of price. 

“Australian vegetables are grown to the strictest and highest standards and research has demonstrated that an increasing number of Chinese consumers are very willing to pay a premium for them,” said Mr Gurney.

Mr Lee addressed the cultural ‘must-dos’ when it came to doing business with China. 

“Small gestures, such as taking the initiative to speak a few words of the local language, have the potential to make or break a business negotiation.”

“Chinese tradition is very important in the business world. From the way to correctly toast a drink, to properly maintaining ‘face’, adhering to cultural norms can empower foreigners in a business situation,” said Mr Gurney.

Several other informative guests delivered addresses at the Symposium, each providing vegetable growers and industry members with vital information to take advantage of growth in Asian markets.

“China’s proximity to our region provides a distinct advantage in the trade of vegetables, and could very well revitalise Australian vegetable exports, which currently represent around seven per cent of all vegetable produce grown in Australia,” said Mr Gurney.

Also featured in the July/August edition of Vegetables Australia is vegetable grower Diem Tran, who speaks about his cultural heritage and pathway to growing success.

Vegetables Australia is designed to communicate emerging research and development (R&D) findings funded by the National Vegetable Levy, with matched funds from the Australian Government. To receive a free media copy of Vegetables Australia magazine, e-mail your mailing details to info@ausveg.com.au. 

ENDS

MEDIA CONTACT: Hugh Gurney, AUSVEG. 
Mob: 0410 047 432 Phone: (03) 9882 0277 E-mail: hugh.gurney@ausveg.com.au