ATGA secures major pilot project on traceability

Media release
31 August 2021

The Australian Table Grape Association (ATGA) has secured a major innovative project to strengthen table grape traceability for high-value export markets.

ATGA and Agriculture Victoria will partner to lead the $650,000 project, funded by the Victorian Government from its Food to Market program.

The pilot – which commenced in June 2021 – will run for the duration of the 2021/22 table grape harvest season, and aims to build, diversify and protect exports by developing producer-to-consumer traceability.

Australia’s table grapes are the nation’s largest fresh horticulture export, valued at $800 million in total, with $623 million export product. Ninety per cent of Australia’s table grape exports are generated by Victorian producers and exporters, for a value of $562 million across 152,000 tonnes of table grape exports.

Table grape producers and exporters have a responsibility to maintain and elevate standards of safety and quality for consumers, to bolster export capacity in a changing global market.

Implementing new traceability systems, including labelling and integration with cool chain tracking, will help leverage the value of Australian export brands, previously impeded at times by limited product and cool chain traceability as fruit enters export countries.

Victorian Minister for Agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas announced the $8.4 million first tranche of the program, which will see the ATGA – among 13 key industry and regional peak bodies – receive funding to support projects that will add value to food grown and processed in Victoria.

“The Food to Market program is an excellent example of how we are providing timely support to agribusinesses impacted by the pandemic, while capitalising on opportunities to expand into new markets over the longer term,” Minister Thomas said.

ATGA CEO Jeff Scott welcomed the pilot project, and said traceability was pivotal to reinforcing competitiveness in international markets.

“It is important that all growers embrace traceability of their product to ensure the link from the grower to the consumer gives confidence all the way through the supply chain of a high quality product and food safety,” Mr Scott said.

Fruit Master, a large Australian producer and exporter, will apply leading traceability technology and cool chain tracking to premium fruit brands and varieties across table grape exports this upcoming season.

Fruit Master export sales manager Christian Jones said Fruit Master growers invest significant time and money into developing premium products, and that utilising technologies which highlight that quality to their customers would be a vital step forward for industry.

“Traceability works as an extension of 12 months of hard work,” Mr Jones said. “Continuing to evolve this link enhances the supply chain and brings the consumer’s experience closer to the source.”

Technology provider Result Group 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, which can be shared with consumers to authenticate the food’s precise origin and engage with the brand through an open platform smartphone scan.

The Active Digital Identity™ embedded in the QR code labels ensures each one is unique and traceable – an important innovation in combatting all manner of food fraud. Labels will also carry critical international traceability data, based on GS1 current standards, covering consumer pack units, cases and pallet codes, as well as time and temperature logging, which will be captured through the EVRYTHNG Product Cloud® database.

Result Group general manager Michael Dossor said they were “beyond excited and proud” to be the traceability technology provider for the program.

“We have assembled the world’s best technology and, with local talent, adapted it to make it right for the Australian produce sector,” Mr Dossor said.

“Consumers the world over are seeking transparency, while brands are seeking visibility into the journey of individual products from farm through supply chains to consumption.”

GS1 traceability standards will be incorporated into the pilot, enhancing the international compatibility of these supply chains for global exports.

GS1 Australia chief customer officer Marcel Sieira said GS1 was pleased to support traceability projects through advice on GS1 standards and labelling options.

“GS1 standards enable organisations to identify, capture and share information smoothly, creating a common language that underpins systems and processes all over the world,” Mr Sieira said.

The pilot project will run for the duration of the 2021/22 export season and conclude in January 2023.

The Victorian Government’s Food to Market program is a $15 million commitment to invest in the state’s agri-food supply chain.

Read the minister’s announcement here.


Media contact:
ATGA communications manager | Terryn Milner
0438 316 339 | tmilner@atga.net.au

7 September 2021 • Approved Employer info session

Concerned about finding workers for the upcoming and future seasons? Ever thought about becoming an approved employer?

The ATGA will facilitate – with the support of Agriculture Victoria – an approved employer workshop, with expert advice and information on Tuesday 7 September at 10am.

Join Approved Employers of Australia EO Steve Burdette, Plant Grow Pick director Mel Fangatua and DESE Seasonal Worker Program regional coordinators Sam Testa, Alastair Mitton and Adrian McMahon as they guide you through current workforce options and challenges, take a look at labour supply and demand, and demystify the process of becoming an approved employer.

Government to deliver on long-awaited ag visa

Media release

24 August 2021

The Australian Table Grape Association (ATGA) applauds yesterday’s momentous announcement by the Federal Government to deliver a dedicated agriculture-specific visa (ag visa).

CEO Jeff Scott welcomed the announcement as a critical step forward for Australia’s table grape growers.

“This is exciting news for the table grape industry,” Mr Scott said. “The ATGA has been working with government to establish a national ag visa for nearly two years.

“This announcement will go a long way to alleviating the challenges growers face in securing harvest labour.”

The Federal Government’s plans to have the visa in place by 30 September 2021 will be a satisfying relief to table grape growers concerned about securing their workforce for the upcoming season.

ATGA chair and Robinvale grower Jeremey Boyd said it was a “very positive” move, and said he and other growers eagerly awaited more detail to understand how the ag visa would practically function once operationalised.

“It is positive for the industry,” Mr Boyd said. “We look forward to hearing how it will be implemented within industry.”

Deputy chair and Irymple grower Rocky Mammone said industry had been “pushing” for a dedicated agricultural visa for many years, with the Covid-19 pandemic proving to be a mechanism for action.

“We’ve always been short on workers and we’ve been pushing for this,” Mr Mammone said. “Covid-19 has been the catalyst for this.

“We’re very happy with the announcement – it’s a step in the right direction.

“We look forward to being involved in the consultation process and we’ll be trying to push for a streamlined visa which is accessible to as many growers as possible.”

Mr Scott said the onus was now on state governments to establish quarantine pathways to ensure foreign workers could be safely accommodated.

“We now call on state governments to work with the federal governments in establishing quarantine pathways to ensure the success of this new visa,” Mr Scott said.

Contact:

CEO Jeff Scott
0417 122 086

Export registration opens

The Australian table grape export registration system is now open.

CEO Jeff Scott opened export registration last week, and growers can read the Industry Advice Notice (IAN) here.

Growers and exporters with existing TG numbers would have received a notification from the system to commence registration, but all growers wishing to register for the first time should contact Jeff to set up a TG number and profile.

More information and housekeeping matters are available here.

To begin your registration, visit the export registration site.

Growers must have their crop monitor (at least one, but may be more) complete the 2021 Tocal College crop monitoring course

Registrations close 5pm Friday 27 August 2021.

Planned export registration sessions have been cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions, however Jeff is available to provide assistance to applicants on 0417 122 086 or email.

New benefits to eating grapes

A new study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology has found grapes increased resistance to sunburn and reduced markers of UV damage.

The study’s subjects showed an increase in resistance to sunburn and reduced markers for UV damage.

“We saw a significant photoprotective effect with grape consumption and we were able to identify molecular pathways by which that benefit occurs — through repair of DNA damage and downregulation of proinflammatory pathways,” said Dr. Elmets.

“Grapes may act as an edible sunscreen, offering an additional layer of protection in addition to topical sunscreen products.”

Read about the study in the news.