The first ever shipment of Australian table grapes to South Korea has been sent from Robinvale, marking a significant new milestone for Victoria’s table grape industry.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said the table grapes had been grown, packed and exported by Robinvale company FruitMaster Australia and were scheduled to arrive in the South Korean capital Seoul on May 2.
“This consignment of fruit marks an historical moment for the table grape industry and follows the first ever shipment of Australian table grapes to Japan on March 28,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is supporting industry with promotional launches at the Australian Embassies in Tokyo and Seoul with key importers and in-market media.”
New market access protocols for Korea and Japan were successfully negotiated by the Federal Department of Agriculture earlier this year. The Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries provided technical information, verification trials and commercial introductions.
“The Australian Table Grape Association estimates this new access to Japan and Korea will be worth $20 million per year within five years in new exports for Victoria,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Victorian Coalition is also committed to continue helping the horticulture industry to access other new high value export markets through initiatives such as the Food to Asia Action Plan.”
Member for Mildura Peter Crisp said it was pleasing to see Robinvale send the first shipment of table grapes to South Korea, showcasing the Sunraysia region’s produce to the country.
“Sunraysia has a reputation for producing high-quality, clean horticultural produce and this shipment of table grapes will demonstrate that reputation to South Korea,” Mr Crisp said.
Colleen Dangerfield from FruitMaster Australia said trade and investment staff from DEPI were instrumental in linking the company with its Korean importer.
“We also met a number of other Japanese and Korean importers who travelled to Sunraysia last year as part of the Government’s Food and Beverage Trade Week,” Ms Dangerfield said.
“We are sending three varieties to Korea so consumers will have a really good picture of what Australia can produce. Hopefully we can increase our volumes to Korea next year.”
The Victorian table grape industry accounts for 94 per cent of Australia’s total table grape exports and is Victoria's biggest horticultural export earner, worth $174 million in 2012-13.