HORTICULTURAL exporters will be able to simplify the path to foreign markets by having their own industry-based Plant Export Authorised Officers (AOs).
The Federal Government is investing $800,000 to support horticulture exporters, in particular small exporters, by bolstering the number of AOs by more than one-third.
The project comes under the government’s Package Assisting Small Exporters (PASE).
Up to 400 additional AOs could be trained including staff of export businesses.
Getting the official bit of paper costs a total of $2250 but industry only pays $250 of that, with the government paying $2000.
The investment is a far cry from the current rate of $36 per 15 minutes for an in-house AO inspection, or $75 per 15 minute for a departmental officer.
Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce said horticulture exporters stand to save time and money and enjoy increased flexibility in their export operations.
“Exporters can have their own staff trained as AOs, or employ third parties who will undertake inspections for select overseas markets with agreed protocols, without needing to pay for a Department of Agriculture and Water Resources AO,” Mr Joyce said.
“Using external AOs gives the industry greater flexibility in their inspection arrangements, and reduces costs associated with the inspections of their goods for export.
“The Coalition Government is continually working in partnership with industry on expanding the number of markets that can be accessed by our exports, along with seeking to allow industry-employed AOs to inspect product.
“Recent work with protocol market countries has seen industry-employed AOs able to service markets previously restricted only to departmental AOs.”
Mr Joyce made mention of Howard Hansen of Hansen Orchards in Tasmania who was one of the first grower/exporters to take advantage of the new inspection arrangements.
Hansen Orchards exported 2.5 times the cherries than the previous year.
“Last season he saved about 75 per cent in costs associated with inspection alone,” Mr Joyce said.