WA strawberry grower adapting to new trade scenario in the wake of Covid

When global air freight capacity crashed in 2020 thanks to pandemic restrictions, some of Australia’s most successful exporters were left with few options to get their goods to international customers.

For Ti Produce, that meant the potential loss of customers in South East Asia, the Middle East and New Zealand.

The Bullsbrook, WA-based company had traditionally exported more than half its annual crop.

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Like many exporters of premium, perishable goods, Ti Produce turned to Austrade’s International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM).

The Australian Government set up the $290.6m as a temporary emergency response to pandemic disruptions to air freight which threatened exports to established markets and the import of critical goods.

“Without IFAM there is a real possibility we would not have been able to continue to be a reliable supplier to our overseas customers,” Ti Produce’s Marketing Director, Jamie Michael, said. 

“I have to commend the way the IFAM team have got this program up and running so well and so quickly. It’s refreshing to see how effectively it has been done. 

“They really have managed to help a lot of businesses in the face of numerous freight and logistics challenges with how well they have set up this program and how quickly they reacted. 

“If I had three thumbs, they would get three thumbs up.”  

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Ti Produce has adjusted its domestic and international distribution balance due to the impact of COVID-19 on international airfreight capacity.

The company is looking to the future by securing supply deals with major retailers across Australia, trialling insulated transit options to keep fruit fresher for longer, and joining an export berry trade group.

Developed by Berries Australia, the joint berry trade project is designed to proactively manage market access and trade development for the country’s berry industries, with the aim of increasing the volume of product that can be moved offshore at sustainable prices.