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Can Australian horticulture survive and meet the global challenge?

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George, A.P., Broadley, R.H. and Nissen, R.J. (2005) Can Australian horticulture survive and meet the global challenge? Acta Horticulturae, 694 . pp. 289-294. ISSN 0567-7572

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2005.694.47


Globalisation is having a major impact on the performance of Australian horticulture. Australia is highly vulnerable to cheap imports of many fresh and processed fruit and vegetable commodities. New and emerging crops may become increasingly important. Particularly threatened will be commodities that can be produced and/or stored all year round eg banana, apple, and pineapple. New post-harvest storage and disinfestation techniques will exacerbate the problem. Imports from developing countries such as China, Chile and Brazil are cheaper because of their low costs of production. For example, labour costs in rural regions of China are about A$2 per day and a tray of stonefruit costs about A$3 to produce. Lower farm gates prices for Australian farmers are also being driven by consolidation in major Australian retail supermarket chains due to increasing pressure from international competitors. Farm share of the retail price has dropped from about 30% in the 1980s to less than 15-20% in 2003. Due to increasing costs of production, and falling or static returns, Australian farms are being forced to amalgamate to achieve economies of scale and to improve their efficiency of production. For example the number of potato farmers in the Fassifern Valley of Queensland has fallen from 480 to 50 in the past five years, while overall production has not changed. This trend is also well documented in the USA. Whilst globalisation poses a major threat, Australia also has opportunities to increase exports of counter-seasonal commodities such as low chill stonefruit, lychee, custard apple and sweet persimmon to Asia, where populations are becoming increasingly urbanised, and disposable incomes are increasing rapidly. Australian industries must become more organised, co-operative and competitive to access these markets. We suggest that this can be achieved through the formation of larger export clusters and companies, standardized packaging and QA systems, and an internationally recognised brand name e.g. Oz Brand. We discuss new strategies to improve the survival and competitiveness of Australian fruit and vegetable industries.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Plant culture > Horticulture. Horticultural crops
Agriculture > By region or country > Australia
Live Archive:04 Feb 2024 22:38
Last Modified:04 Feb 2024 22:38

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