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The Australian mango industry - Increasing exports through collaboration factsheet

​​​​​​​​​Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, April 2016

These case studies share examples of existing farmer collaboration​

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Key points

  • As Australian mangoes appeal to premium export markets, the industry aimed to double mango exports by 2016–17.
  • A pilot programme in the US was chosen to test a collaborative export plan, and initial shipments in 2015 laid the foundation for future years.
  • While the pilot was considered a success and opened new export markets, there were challenges.
  • Participants have used knowledge and trust built in the pilot programme to address other issues.
  • For further information visit agriculture.gov.au/cooperatives

The Australian mango industry produces 50 000 tonnes of fresh mangoes each season, of which up to 10 per cent is exported to markets in Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

The domestic market is very profitable so growers tend to be spot sellers in overseas markets, where price drives a transactional approach to exports.

But Australian mangoes have unique genetics, resulting in a product that appeals to premium export markets, so the industry agreed to an ambitious goal of doubling mango exports by 2016–17.

Australian Mango Industry Association (AMIA) CEO, Robert Gray, said the industry knew it would have to work together. ‘To meet our export goals we needed greater collaboration and co-operation between growers, exporters and importers, and we needed to see exports supported by industry-led market development programs.’

The five-year Australian Mango Export Plan was developed by AMIA in 2014 with the assistance of the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australian governments.

A pilot program in the United States of America (US) market was chosen to test the collaborative export plan. Access to the US was achieved in December 2014 under a four-year pilot programme agreed between the Australian and US governments. Growers and packing sheds were invited to register for the programme, which included Australian Department of Agriculture compliance verification and audit by the United States Department of Agriculture.

The first year saw two initial commercial shipments to the US in February 2015. These proved the market access pathway and laid the foundations for future years.

When people taste success in a collaborative project they start to think about what else they can achieve.

What started as a specific project to get mangoes into the US market has laid the foundations for future years.

A working group, open to all interested stakeholders, was formed and it includes growers (representing about 70 per cent of national mango production) and exporters, who have committed to guidelines that govern how they will collaborate.

An important element of the collaboration is the transparency of information and the willingness of participants to share commercial information to ensure success. AMIA has applied to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for an exemption from relevant competition rules for its export market development.

While the pilot programme is considered a success, the industry must manage some grower unease about collaborative marketing. Some growers are uncomfortable with a structured and industry-managed export programme where commercial information is shared along the supply chain.

Another challenge is simply having the resources to allocate to new market development.

‘Anything new needs a disproportionate amount of energy to maintain momentum. New models will bring new challenges that inevitably require a significant investment of resources,’ said Robert Gray.

Beyond the benefits of opening new export markets, the pilot programme has delivered another benefit to industry.

‘When people taste success in a collaborative project they start to think about what else they can achieve.

‘What started as a specific project to get mangoes into the US market has led to participants taking the knowledge and the trust built within industry to address other issues collaboratively.

‘That’s the big win!’

These case studies were compiled by RIRDC to share examples of existing farmer collaboration.

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