AUSTRALIA’s table grape growers have received a major boost with Korea’s luxury retail chain Hyundai Department Store exclusively stocking Australian table grapes.
Australian Grapes, chiefly sourced from growers in Victoria, were recently promoted in Korea at a Taste Australia trade seminar and networking lunch in Seoul attended by 70 industry decision makers, including buyers such as Hyundai Department Store representatives.
The group received an overview of the Australian table grape industry, the season’s outlook and exports to South Korea and an overview of the Taste Australia marketing program.
Hort Innovation chief executive John Lloyd said following the event, two major Korean table grape importers departed for Australia to visit Victoria’s table grape growing regions to discuss sourcing table grape exporters.
“The visiting importers toured a number of Victorian farms, viewing the high standard of food safety measures for which Australia is renowned, tasting produce and learning more about farm operations,” Mr Lloyd said.
“Feedback from participating growers and the importers was fantastic. The exercise led to the broadening of lucrative trade opportunities and valuable relationships with key importers that we expect will last for many years to come.”
Mr Lloyd said the success of the activities was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Australian Table Grape Association (ATGA), Austrade and Trade Victoria.
ATGA chief executive Jeff Scott said the feedback from the trade seminars was also extremely positive and Australian exporters in attendance welcomed the chance to meet and network with several leading fruit traders in the one venue.
“Importers and retailers were eager to hear how the Australian season was shaping up. They wanted to know what they could expect to see in market and as well in in-store promotional activities,” Mr Scott said.
“South Korea is an exciting, emerging market with momentum building to increase trade.”
This year is the fifth year since the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement came into force and the tariff on the Australian grapes was fully eliminated for the season.
In 2016-17, South Korea primarily imported table grapes from Chile, Peru and the US. While the share of Australia imported was only small (0.32 per cent), it was the only other country to export to South Korea, according to the Global Trade Atlas.
Table grapes are produced in all Australian states. According to the Horticulture Statistics Handbook, the majority of production occurs in Victoria, in the Sunraysia and Murray Valley areas. Other major producing areas include: the Riverland in South Australia; Carnarvon, Swan Valley and Bunbury in Western Australia; Ti Tree/Alice Springs in the Northern Territory; Mundubbera, Emerald, St George, Cunnamulla and Stanthorpe in Queensland; and the Riverina in NSW.