SME exporters the big winners as Barnaby Joyce unveils $5.3 million in grants

SME exporters the big winners as Barnaby Joyce unveils $5.3 million in grants

Avocado exporters are among the major winners of the funding program

Agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce has unveiled a $5.3 million funding package in order to help small exporters better tackle overseas markets.  

Kangaroo meat and avocado exporters are among the major winners of the funding program, with a number of kangaroo exporters set to receive a share of $350,000 in order to develop better quality controls for their products.  

Avocados Australia, meanwhile, will receive $250,000 under the funding package to better target markets in Asia and the Middle East.  

The funding announcement comes as the Government continues to negotiate its free trade agreement with China.  

A number of economists believe SMEs are likely to benefit from the China free trade agreement, however small businesses still lack the same information and capital as large companies when it comes to marketing their products to overseas buyers.  

Joyce said it is important for the smaller end of town to reap the benefits of international trade.  

“These grants give export industries a leg-up to international markets,” Joyce said.  

“They will help agribusinesses, and their regional communities, grow. This targeted support comes on the back of historic trade agreements the government has signed with China, Japan and Korea and recent access for mangos and lychees to the United States of America.” 

Joyce says the grants are also aimed at leveraging new technology, including the development of an app for kangaroo products and better online systems for grape and citrus growers.  

“We’re backing the kangaroo industry to make the most of export opportunities, working with the dairy industry to develop a stronger food safety culture and setting up an advisory service for small exporters in Victoria,” he said. 

“There’s funding for a residue testing program for the seafood sector, biosecurity management for the growing cherry industry and a whole raft of innovations for grain growers to leverage our enviable international reputation for safe, reliable, high quality produce.”  

Lisa McAuley, chief executive of the export council of Australia, told SmartCompany the funding program will give small exporters in the agriculture sector the leg-up they deserve.  

“A large percentage of our exporters are actually small businesses,” McAuley says. 

“We need to support those companies because ultimately they can become the fast-growing exporters. They also have less resources when it comes to tackling barriers they encounter.” 

McAuley says the grants will go a long way in helping small exporters take advantage of Australia’s free trade agreements, particularly when it comes to the correct labelling and certification of products in other countries.  

“I like to say free trade agreements are about freer trade – they aim to improve access to all barriers of trade across goods and services, but there are a number of non-tariff barriers that companies need to navigate,” she says.  

“The grant scheme that has come out has gone a long way to target very specific industries and their barriers in taking advantage of these market opportunities.”

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