FOLLOWING the announcement a new trade deal had been struck with India, the Federal Government has announced a $485,000 grant to Citrus Australia which will help Mallee growers tap into the lucrative Indian market with exports of high-quality oranges and mandarins.

Member for Mallee, Anne Webster said growers throughout Mallee had faced serious challenges by market disruptions and global supply chain challenges over the past two years.

“India and the Indian subcontinent present real opportunities for our growers to export our high-quality, sustainable Aussie citrus,” Dr Webster said.

“Our local horticultural industry has gone through some difficult times due to workforce shortages, trade constraints, supply chains and shipping disruptions. The announcement of the India Free Trade Agreement, which includes an invitation for Indian workers to be part of the Ag Visa, brings many benefits that will positively impact our growers.

“The Australian Government is putting practical support on the ground through a new horticultural export specialist, strategic relationships with Indian importers, retailers, governments, cold-chain and warehousing providers.

“That will provide Mallee with practical support to get our high-quality fruit onto tables in India.”

In Mildura yesterday to make the announcement, Minister for Agriculture Littleproud said the Citrus Australia project would map the Indian market and supply chains, build capabilities and boost sales through business exchanges and marketing campaigns.

“This is a huge opportunity for local Aussie growers,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Australia has the ability to become the southern hemisphere supplier of choice for premium quality citrus products in India over the next 5-10 years.

“The past 2 years have been marred by market disruptions and global freight and logistics challenges, and India and the Indian subcontinent present real growth prospects for our high-quality, sustainable Aussie citrus.

“Last week we signed a landmark trade agreement with India and citrus was one of the beneficiaries of that with a 13,700 tonne quota, reducing the tariff on citrus from 30 to 15 per cent which is a significant reduction.

“We need to take advantage of that and so we are acting swiftly.

“We are investing money into the citrus industry to have an ambassador in India and also having growers and exporters on the ground telling our story and to showcase what we are standing in right here. This is the best place in the world to grow citrus and Australian agriculture should be showcasing that.”

Citrus Australia CEO Nathan Hancock said that his industry hopes to take this opportunity to the next level with the Indian market.

“India has been a long held ambition of the citrus industry to expand into and we know that there is a lot of opportunity there and the Indian market has turned a corner, where there are far more modern retail and supermarket outlets where our product can make an impact,” he said.

“The timing of this is really fantastic the government should be applauded for the efforts they have made.”