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Export and trade development fundamental to future of industry

Export & Market Access

Written by APAL’s Head of Trade, Jenny Van de Meeberg, this article first appeared in the Autumn 2022 issue of AFG magazine.

Predictions of domestic apple and pear market saturation remain, despite lower than anticipated Class 1 Pink Lady packouts this season. Here, APAL Head of Trade, Jenny Van de Meeberg updates on the program underway to improve market access and increase the percentage of marketable production exported by 2024.

Why this, why now?

The Australian apple and pear industry is in a period of continuing production growth, and when taken with long-term focus on quality and improved packout rates are prompting predictions of approaching domestic market saturation. The consequence of oversupply will be downward pressure on domestic market prices and therefore an overall reduction in the profitability of the industry.

The possibility that apple imports may be permitted in the coming years adding additional pressure to the supply-side adds to the rationale for expanding export market options.

Currently, only a very small percentage of apples and pears are exported to international markets; however, with targeted intervention, there is an opportunity to increase trade and ensure a positive future for the industry.

The Apple and Pear Market Access and Trade Development project is designed to bring a collaborative approach to export, improve market access, while mitigating the risks of market disruptions, and improve the export capability and competitiveness across growers and packhouses. Ultimately, the project is designed to increase the percentage of marketable production exported by 2024.

The overall objective of this levy-funded project is to proactively manage market access and trade development for the apple and pear industries so that an increasing volume of product can be moved offshore, over time, at sustainable prices. By fostering a well-educated, well-resourced, export-focused cohort the apple and pear industry will be able to remove product from the domestic market and alleviate saturation

All apple and pear growers will benefit from this project; exporters will receive the advice and assistance they need to grow their international business and non-exporters will benefit from the stabilisation of the domestic market.


Export project evolution

This project follows the successful levy-funded Apple & Pear Export Readiness and Market Access program, which concentrated on capacity building at the individual level. The Market Access and Trade Development project will be an advanced technical program focused on activities growers cannot easily do themselves because they require an industry-wide response.

APAL believes there is a significant program of work required to ensure gains are made in technical market access, category-specific market intelligence, support for commercial exporters and the proactive defence of Australia’s biosecurity with regards to imports.


What growers can expect

Through a series of targeted and professionally designed activities, the project will improve growers’ understanding of export opportunities, enhance growers’ ability to engage in export supply chains and empower the industry to provide clear advice to government on market access and trade development priorities. It will also mean future levy-funded projects designed to support market access and trade development will be better informed and rich in technical detail, therefore delivering a better return on investment.

To achieve these objectives, the project will involve three pillars:

  1. Market Intelligence: APAL has partnered with KPMG to prepare three key market intelligence documents that will be the foundation of a strong export strategy built on a vigorous evidence base that has been sense-checked against the experience of industry exporters. These documents are:
    1. Export Market Prioritisation and Priority Market Profiles
    2. Apple and Pear Global Trends Summary
    3. Industry Export Opportunity and Threats Review.


In addition, APAL will engage directly with our export markets to facilitate outbound missions and programs designed to support export priorities.


  1. Market Access: Strategic planning for market access, risk management, pest and disease management, the provision of technical assistance to relevant government departments, the facilitation of export registration and compliance, technical assistance to support FTA negotiations, and offshore engagement to support market access.


  1. Engagement: Grower and exporter engagement on export and trade via channels including a trade update at APAL’s annual forum, two annual export engagement workshops, the provision of an export helpdesk for growers, stakeholder surveys and the development of a password-protected export hub on the APAL website.


Broader stakeholder (and government) engagement and representation at industry forums, and contributing expertise to trade-related projects to ensure continuity and representation of industry needs and priorities.


Arguably, the current season is already under pressure on the domestic front, and we have seen the beginning of a shift in thinking in terms of the need to export more.

APAL foresees further disruption to the domestic market on the horizon and therefore this project has an opportunity to support the industry’s transition to export success.


If you would like to discuss the exports for apples and pear, please get in touch with Jenny Van de Meeberg, Head of Trade,

Further information :




ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: The Market Access and Trade Development project is funded by Hort Innovation using the apple and pear R&D levy and funds from the Australian Government.


Jenny Van de Meeburg Export

Jenny Van de Meeburg, Head of Trade, APAL

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