PASE project updates

​​​​The Package Assisting Small Exporters (PASE) is a grant programme administered by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources aimed at improving market access for small exporters.

PASE has already funded 41 projects to assist small Australian exporters in a number of industries. Below are a few examples of what grantees have achieved and how the projects help other small exporters.

Find out more about PASE.

Woodbridge Smokehouse

An example of Australian premium seafood Woodbridge smokehouse aimed to widen the export market.

Going into their PASE project, the operations manager of Woodbridge Smokehouse, BJ Plummer, had a simple question: Even if there is consumer interest, how do you sell a premium product to an international market like China?

On behalf of the seafood export industry, Woodbridge Smokehouse attended trade show events in China, made contacts with industry consumers in Hong Kong and evaluated the demand of smoked fish in these markets. These efforts benefited the seafood industry as they were able to learn about their export market and the process involved behind exportation and share their findings with the Seafood Industry. Thanks to the project, Australian niche seafood may be on shelves in Hong Kong sooner than you think.

South Australian Research and Development Group

Food safety and quality is essential to thrive in an international market but current shellfish testing is time consuming and costly. SARDI have the solution to improve the way Australian shellfish exports are tested for bio-toxins.

Program Manager at Safefish, Alison Turnbull, says currently Australian shellfish testing takes between three and seven days and costs upwards of $500 per sample. SARDI is looking to validate a more rapid testing process, which will save time and money. If successful, Australian exporters will be able to test their products for as little as $30 and within 30 minutes. Although this screening won’t replace full testing, it could save thousands of dollars for exporters in low risk situations and help maintain market access.

The industry has already provided testimonials about the test kit at its trial stage and are impressed with the results.

Dairy Australia

Exporting can be a hard area to navigate for a small business without experience in international markets. To help, Dairy Australia has been working on a strategy to teach Australian dairy businesses what is involved in becoming a small exporter. Having this knowledge will help producers decide if exporting is a viable option for them. This should increase the businesses chance of success on their first exports.

Grain Industry Association of Western Australia

Lupin derived products promoted by the Grain Industry Association of Western Australia.

The Grain Industry Association of Western Australia (GIWA) have been testing and opening the international market for the human consumption of lupins and lupin-based products. Larissa Taylor, the CEO of GIWA explains that lupins have ‘compelling health and human and nutrition benefits.’

GIWA have been working to promote lupins as food through events like Gulfood 2017 in Dubai. They have also been working on promotional material such as a recipe book for cooking with lupins which is available online.

Australian Tea Tree Industry Association

The European Union, United States of America and Canada make up 80% of all Australian tea tree oil exports, so it is incredibly important for these markets to remain open.

The Australian Tea Tree Industry Association (ATTIA) conducted an independent survey of the cosmetic uses, functions and concentrations of tea tree oil in the European Union.

According to the CEO of ATTIA, Tony Larkman, completing the PASE funded survey and the resulting report has opened opportunities for ATTIA to continue their work. This includes providing data for dermal penetration studies to increase and maintain market access in the European Union for Australian tea tree oil exporters. ATTIA’s work has inspired other researchers to continue writing on the topic and improve chances to increase exports.

Avocados Australia

Australian Avocados being sold in the Singaporean market.

Avocados Australia is currently working on a project to help exporters deliver premium ripe and ready avocados to Singaporean and Malaysian markets.

John Tyas, the CEO of Avocados Australia, said that the project had allowed them initially to "travel to Singapore and Malaysia to gain further understanding of the opportunities and challenges." Mr Tyas said that the demand for Australian avocados could be increased by delivering a ripe and ready-to-eat product. "We are working with participants along the supply chain to be able to reliably deliver a premium product to these markets", he said.

To date, Avocados Australia has completed grower workshops and trade publications and are currently working on creating guidance material for small exporters, through an export manual and grower self-auditing tools. Avocados Australia is hoping to launch the Ripe and Ready program in the market in mid-2018.

Grain Trade Australia

Maintaining the reputation of Australian grain is vital for Australian producers when trading domestically and internationally. Grain Trade Australia (GTA) has made it easier for the grain industry to collate data on grain contaminants by developing a food safety database for industry use.

GTA has created the database to capture and monitor the levels of contaminants such as heavy metals, mycotoxins, ergot, pyrrolizidine alkaloids and radiation in grains. Users will be able to add and access their own analysis test data. The project aims to assist the industry in developing targeted sampling/testing for contaminants as well as to reduce the risk of violating importing country requirements.

The database will not only help industry collate their own data for individual business purposes, but the collated, de-identified data will be used to better inform domestic regulations and requirements as well as assisting with Australia’s input in international standards setting, such as through Codex (the international food safety standard setting body).

The database is available to all industry, including those involved with small exports such as domestic marketers and processors, container exporters and bulk vessel exporters.

During its creation, GTA considered the specifications of the database, confidentiality issues and simplicity of use. More information about the database is available via the GTA website.

If you are interested in participating and accessing the database, please contact GTA via email (Admin) or phone (02 9235 2155).

McMullen Consulting

Ensuring the consistency of quality in Australian produce is important in maintaining our international reputation. Australian grains are no exception. That is where a project by McMullen Consulting may help; by investigating the existing sampling systems used when loading grain in containers for export, it aims to develop recommendations for consistent sampling protocols for use by the industry.

Over the last year, McMullen Consulting has been investigating the best way to sample grain in Australia by comparing overseas sampling systems and determining relevant aspects that may be adopted in Australia. McMullen Consulting also worked with Australian container packers to assess current methods of sampling used in Australia.

As a result of this work, McMullen Consulting found that the manual system of sampling (that is, collecting grain manually from a moving grain stream rather than obtaining a sample through machinery) was used in many instances both overseas and in Australia. During the project, a number of sites were visited based on their sampling systems. Samples were obtained and analysed to provide insight into what sampling procedures produced the most accurate results. It was noted during the project that industry is encouraged to continually improve their sampling systems as referenced in the grain industry code of practice for the management of grain, which is mandatory for all Grain Trade Australia (GTA) members.

McMullen Consulting will provide the findings of the project as well as recommended sampling practices to GTA  he used when developing industry wide guidelines. Industry will be able to provide further input through Grain Trade Australia as the findings of the project are provided to industry.

If you would like more information on this project, please contact McMullen Consulting via phone +61 3 8300 0108 or email Gerard McMullen.

NSW Farmers Association

Beef is a major export for Australia and the NSW Farmers' Association has completed a project that helps small exporters better understand the opportunities and risks of exporting to one of our major markets – China.

The purpose of the project was to gain an understanding of the logistical and trade issues NSW beef producers may face and also to give a group of beef producers the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of the Chinese market by participating in the project’s research team.  The project included organising meetings for a group of farmers with the peak ecommerce firms, Alibaba and Yiguo, to discuss the potential for small volume premium beef brands retail-ready packed in Australia.  The in-country research also gave the farmers the opportunity to visit key processing facilities and retail outlets, and see how beef is handled and presented in China.

General Manager of Research & Innovation at NSW Farmers Association, Mr David Eyre, explained that a key aim of the project was to help producers understand the export process and, in particular, the opportunities arising from ecommerce for high-value, small-volume product lines, catering to health and quality conscious Chinese consumers.

"Established supply chains are being disrupted by ecommerce, making it possible to reduce the gap between producers and consumers and strip costs from supply chains.  China has very sophisticated ecommerce firms that own and operate advanced port-to-consumer cold chain logistic solutions.  We set out to compare marketing beef by such channels, with mainstream approaches such as the bulk export of frozen beef for consumer processing in China.  A clear finding is that small exporters can’t compete in the low-margin, bulk beef export sector, but should instead focus on premium products marketed on ecommerce channels such as Yiguo and Alibaba’s T mall Fresh.  This approach plays to the farmers’ strength which is their ability to tell a credible story about the quality and provenance of their goods", Mr Eyre said.

Project research identified that a retail-ready packed product in Australia is key to achieving premium prices, as opposed to shipping beef in bulk for retail packing in China.  

Mr Eyre said that "a preliminary financial analysis shows that attractive profit markets are achievable for small premium beef lines marketed on ecommerce channels.  However, there are still risks and barriers to development. Producers will need access to state-of-the art domestic processing and packing facilities licenced for China.  While there is currently limited access to these types of processing facilities, an improvement in this area would help many beef producers to become successful beef exporters in their own right."

Mr Eyre also mentioned the impact the project has already had in the industry. ‘The PASE project has encouraged a group of beef producers in Southern NSW to take steps to form an export cooperative built around the learnings of the project.  This group is currently seeking funding from the Farming Together program for a detailed financial study into the feasibility of producing, packing and marketing their beef on Chinese ecommerce channels.’

More information, including webinars and seminars for beef producers is available on the AgInnovators website. NSW Farmers' Association is also contactable via phone (02 9478 1000) or email NSW Farmers.

Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia (KIAA)

Kangaroo meat is a highly versatile, lean red meat suited to a wide range of cuisines.  In more than 30 years of scientific population studies, commercial harvesting has had no adverse impact on kangaroo populations. So how can the Australian kangaroo industry increase exports to international markets, including China, of this high protein, low fat and nutritious meat?

Over the last 18 months, the Package Assisting Small Exporters has assisted the Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia (KIAA) to improve kangaroo meat market access, particularly into Asia. 

By 30 June 2017, KIAA had:
  • developed an Export Strategic Plan 2016-2020, outlining the key export markets of strategic importance to the industry.
  • developed the Australian Kangaroo Industry Five Year Research Development and Extension Plan 2016 – 2021. The Plan details the strategies and measures across the key success factors of animal welfare, sustainability, nutritional value, trade barriers/food safety, product value and communication.
  • Released a new KIAA website with detailed information on the industry, and including a regular blog update on industry activity.
  • Established a KIAA presence through AustCham in Beijing and Wechat (a Chinese social media site).
  • Held successful tasting and media events in Japan and China, including with renowned Iron Chef Wong, to stimulate market acceptance and demand.
  • Developed a communications strategy for key Asian markets.
  • Produced a commercial video and brochure, also in Mandarin, to showcase the kangaroo industry in international markets.
Funding to KIAA under PASE concluded on 30 June 2017. PASE will continue to provide support for a Kangaroo Market Access Manager within the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources until 30 June 2018.​