Victorian table grape exports have come close to record levels this year, with growers shifting their focus to international market according to the Australian Table Grape Association CEO Jeff Scott.
"Last year, statistically we had our largest year ever, where we did 77,000 tonnes of exports to mainly Asian countries, in particular Hong Kong and China," Scott told the ABC. "You would have to say that the domestic price, or season, last year was very ordinary compared to previous years. As a result of that, growers will obviously look for alternatives where they can get the best return for their product."
According to the state government’s most recent food and fibre report, the value of table grape exports has risen from A$97m last year to $174m.
This A$77m increase constitutes a total rise of 80 per cent, the highest since the 2008/09 financial year when exports were valued at A$187m.
While grapes led the way in terms of value generated, the report also stated that fresh and dried fruit exports in total brought in A$285m for Victoria last year.
Scott told the ABC that he anticipated table grape exports to Asia would continue to increase.
"Growers know the condition, quality and maturity of grapes that now needs to be sent over to countries like China," he said. "The more we can educate the growers along those lines, the more that they will have that export focus to send their fruit over there."