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Published on : Jan 19, 2015

The importance of being realistic and avoiding bringing up false hopes’ regarding the resuming of horticultural trade with Vietnam is significant says, Agriculture Minister - Barnaby Joyce. 

In the meantime, Australia’s major horticulture exporters and growers named, Costa, contacted the Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce to shed light on the passed comments regarding the suspension in trade. 

The corporate affairs manager at Costa - Michael Toby said the industry refuses to wait up to 12 months for a clear resolution. Hence, on Thursday, Agriculture Minister Joyce said within a year he believes operations will start turning the issues around thoroughly.  

Although, Costa believes that the minister is trying his best to resolve the matter as soon as he can, but Vietnamese consumers cannot afford to wait up for 12 months for Australia to sort out the entire problem. Nevertheless, they are bound to look out for alternatives from their competitors, including Peru and Chile, said manager Toby. 

It will become extremely difficult for Vietnam to stoop to such low cost countries and not be able to regain a solid foothold in the global market for this particular season. However, for several years to come the country is going to face tens of millions of dollars of lost revenue for Victorian table grape growers.  

Mr Joyce is coordinating with the Vietnamese Government to cater in-depth information about the control in Australia and fruit fly management too. He remains extremely positive and hopeful of resolving the matters and government concerns in Vietnam as soon as possible. There could be decisions and important requirements at any time, and ultimately the Vietnamese Government will work towards resolving such concerns, said the spokesman.  

From January 1, Vietnam stopped releasing vital permits for all Australian vegetables and fresh fruits – citing different concerns about fruit fly. 

According to a comment in the last week by Mr Joyce, Vietnam market had not lost yet; however the two countries remained in talks to reopen the trade again. 

Costa has more than 100 Victorian table grape harvesters in the Sunraysia region and their industry has been hit severely by the trade suspension with around $32 million worth of table grapes exported in the last year. 

Fruits are now being harvested. The Australian Table Grape Association has sorted the black grape varieties separately for Vietnam and said it could be difficult to sell them elsewhere.