A number of Australian fresh produce industry bodies have received funding as part of a Victorian government programme designed to improve the way agricultural producers get their products to market. In the first tranche of the Food to Market programme, A$8.4m worth of grants has been distributed to 13 key industry and regional peak bodies. Global Victoria has contributed an additional A$2.8m to provide export recovery support to industries impacted by disruptions as a result of the pandemic.
Ausveg received A$960k to commence a pilot in partnership with the Victorian government to investigate and trial alternative packaging and transport options for broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, celery and lettuce crop producers in Victoria.
Cherry Growers Australia received A$750k to support the development of a ‘chemical use for export toolkit’ to allow businesses planning to export their produce so they can more easily meet the expectations of international markets.
Citrus Australia and the Australian Table Grape Association (ATGA) received A$1.4m to lead two innovative traceability pilots for premium fruit, which include using leading technology, isotope testing, cool-chain tracking and orchard mapping to enhance traceability. This will aim to safeguard the industry from fraudulent products and ensure that the integrity of premium fruit brands and varieties is protected. As regards table grapes ATGA has partnered with Agriculture Victoria for its A$650k pilot project, which commenced in June 2021 and will run for the duration of the 2021/22 table grape harvest season. Improvement in traceability will be developed by Technology provider Result Group, who will apply unique serialised GS1 Digital Link-enabled QR code labels to export table grapes, allowing the automated collection of data from farm and supply chain. This information can be shared with consumers to authenticate the food’s precise origin and engage with the brand through an open platform smartphone scan.