Australian vegetable exporters are looking at new tech to double the shelf life of some of their produce. They are also scrutinizing ways to increase their competitiveness amid rising freight costs brought on by the pandemic.
In a pilot project by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, AUSVEG and Hort Innovation used controlled atmosphere technology to trial sea freight to New Zealand and Asia. Trials on broccoli, sweet corn, green beans and iceberg lettuce were conducted using Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) liners and Controlled Atmosphere (CA) conditions inside containers with the aim of extending storage life. These trials were extremely promising.
The volume of highly perishable vegetables exported by air freight declined in 2020 due to the pandemic. AUSVEG CEO Michael Coote said exploring the viability of sea freight was critical for the industry. “The value of national fresh vegetable exports dipped 6.3 per cent in 2020 to $263 million. Volumes were down 6.6 per cent over the year. This was due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19,” Coote said.
Read the complete article at austrade.gov.au.