On 14 August 2023, what federal and Queensland state Ministers for Agriculture referred to as ‘the largest, most ambitious trade initiative in Australian horticulture’ was greenlighted, with several partners signing on to the historic $130m Fresh and Secure Trade Alliance (FASTA) program.
The eight-year research program, to be delivered through Hort Innovation and led by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), will see key stakeholders and officials unite to ‘protect and grow’ Australia’s horticultural exports.
FASTA’s research program will have a twin focus: amassing robust and timely datasets – notably for pest and disease management – that can be used to underpin trade negotiations; and increasing our understanding of key pests including fruit fly via a 70+-strong multi-disciplinary, multi-organisational team that will test new technologies for tracking and trapping pests and reducing pest pressure.
“This initiative will reduce the impact of endemic pests on sustainable horticulture crop production, improve Australia’s preparedness for future exotic pest incursions and facilitate a national, industry-driven and coordinated approach to research activity supporting horticultural market access and improvements,” said Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt in a joint Ministerial media release.
“Many of Australia’s biggest trading partners are passionate about pest-management, and this project will help Australia open and maintain these markets and the billions of dollars in annual trade they represent to our horticulture industry.”
Hort Innovation chief executive officer Brett Fifield said export growth and diversification are high priorities for growers across the various industries that make up the nation’s $16B horticulture sector
“The Australian horticulture sector is projected to surge by up to 22.5 per cent in value by 2030, primarily due to increased exports in trade-focused commodities,” he said. “Through streamlined evidence-based data collection for the Australian Government’s trade negotiations and strengthened biosecurity measures, FASTA will support this growth.”
Source: Historic $130m trade alliance to supercharge Aussie horticulture exports I Joint media release, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator the Hon Murray Watt and Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities, the Hon Mark Furner. 14 August 2023
Lead image: Apples for export. Credit: Shutterstock