Apple and pear growers will soon be able to register online to export, thanks to the Australian Government who have granted APAL $117,810 to deliver an online export registration process and prepare market access documentation.
The funding from the Package Assisting Smaller Exporters (PASE) will also be used to develop market access documentation that will assist the industry negotiate technical market access and respond quickly and effectively to any future market disruptions.
As it currently stands, the registration process for export accreditation for the apple and pear sector is a manual process. Growers/packhouses complete the paperwork and then scan and send it to APAL for checking. APAL then compiles the data and sends it to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DoAWR) who complete the desk audit and issue the respective export registration numbers.
Not only is this current system very time consuming for all concerned, the quality of information received is of varying standard because it may include handwritten forms and unclear maps, or lack GPS indicators or complete block-identifying data. The system is labour intensive, unprofessional, and subject to human error.
Other industries, namely Citrus Australia and Australian Table Grapes Association, have developed online registration programs. Rather than re-invent the wheel, this project will allow APAL to review the two existing systems, select the most appropriate system and work with the chosen entity to adapt the software to incorporate apple and pear data. APAL will work with the service provider on the administration process and roll-out a training program to all current and potential apple and pear exporters on how to use the online export registration system.
The move to an online export registration program will deliver:
- process efficiencies
- consistency in data collection
- traceability and transparency
Work has commenced on this project and APAL aims to have the online registration system up and running for the 2017 export season.
The market access documentation project will deliver two outputs:
- Standard Operating Practices (SOP) – a description of management along the supply chain of major pests of concern to China, Vietnam and Taiwan, and;
- Hierarchy of Preferred Treatments (HOPT) – a description and ranking of preferred phytosanitary treatment schedules for apple and for pear exports.
The SOP document provides DoAWR a central ‘go to’ place that describes how the industry manages major pests of concern to trading partners (where we seek new access or improved access). The SOP will describe pest management along the export supply chain, from budwood, nursery, orchard, packing shed, cool store, and air or sea shipment. It uses pest lists derived from the experience of the DoAWR in negotiating with other related horticultural commodities and pests named in protocols or access agreements for Tasmania. The comprehensive document can be used by DoAWR to help expedite trade negotiations.
The HOPT document will ascertain the cost of alternate treatment schedules, cost per container / pallet and the perceived impact of treatments on fruit quality and shelf life. This includes the primary apple and pear treatments and their schedules, including on-shore and in-transit cold disinfestation, methyl bromide fumigation, irradiation and T108a. Armed with this information, the industry can make informed choices about which treatment schedules they would prefer DoAWR to negotiate with trading partners should those import authorities determine that Australian orchard and post-harvest pest management practices are inadequate to control pests and diseases of concern. The rankings will provide DoAWR and APAL a platform to negotiate, moving down ‘the list’ until a mutually satisfactory outcome can be resolved.
Stephen Tancred from Orchard Services and Kim James from Ashmere Consulting have been contracted by APAL to deliver these two important pieces of work and will be reaching out to growers and exporters over the coming weeks to learn more about your businesses. Within each project we hope to gain a thorough understanding of the impact and implications of exporting from the orchard through to the packshed and the range of treatment options needed to satisfy protocol markets. Understanding processes, cost implications, the impact on fruit quality and the practicalities are all important factors that we will consider and account for in developing the two documents. Any information that you can provide will help APAL to develop informed and industry-relevant pieces of work.
For more information please contact APAL’s Market Development Manager Olivia Tait on 03 9999 2702.