​Media Release

Helping Aussie farmers access premium overseas markets

14 February 2017

  • 16 projects, worth around $2.1 million, have now been approved under the Australian Trade and Market Access Cooperation (ATMAC) programme since March 2016
  • These ATMAC projects are helping farmers to secure new and improved access to premium overseas markets
  • The ATMAC programme continues to be open for applications, with individuals and organisations encouraged to apply

Australian primary producers and farmers will be able to cash in on new and improved access to premium overseas markets, following the Coalition Government's significant investment under the Agricultural Trade and Market Access Cooperation (ATMAC) programme.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the ATMAC programme had opened up a range of opportunities for producers and exporters of premium agricultural products, with 16 projects worth around $2.1 million already approved under the programme.

"The ATMAC programme, launched just 11 months ago, is a key part of the Coalition's $30.8 million commitment in the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper to access premium markets and, in turn, deliver better farmgate returns," Minister Joyce said.

"It provides funding for projects that help to open, improve and maintain access to markets for Australian agricultural products by building stronger relationships with trading partners, neighbouring countries and international organisations.

"Meat and Livestock Australia were granted funding for a project to deliver three workshops in China with key Chinese importers, distributors and retailers. The workshops will promote trade in Australian chilled meat and expand access, to a market worth $1.5 billion in 2015-16 for exports of meat and live animals.

Ms Tanya Barden, Director, Economics and Sustainability, Australian Food and Grocery Council, said she welcomed the support for a project aimed at helping Australian agri-food exporters in understanding the different pathways into the Chinese market, such as free-trade zones, e-commerce and traditional routes.

"The Australian Food and Grocery Council will also develop materials to deliver a consistent and factual explanation of Australia's food safety and export regulatory systems to international audiences," Ms Barden said.

"This will reinforce Australia's reputation as a reliable food producer. It will also increase understanding and trust of Australia's systems, to reduce technical barriers to markets."

The ATMAC programme is also supporting a project to reduce compliance costs for the export of fresh Australian horticultural products, such as citrus, table grapes and stone fruit, to capitalise on the Asian market, worth $1.7 billion to Australia's horticultural industry in 2015-16.

Minister Joyce said the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries had received a grant for its research into Australian finger limes.

"Currently, fresh Australian finger limes cannot be exported to markets such as Japan due to concerns over fruit fly. Scientific evidence suggests that finger limes are not a fruit fly host and the project aims to support this claim," Minister Joyce said.

"These projects are helping Australian exporters realise the opportunities presented by trade deals and market access gains secured by the Coalition Government. I would encourage more interested parties to apply for this funding."

The ATMAC programme is open for applications in 2017. All interested and eligible applicants are should apply.

Further information on approved ATMAC projects, the ATMAC programme guidelines and the application process are available at agriculture.gov.au/atmac.

Fast facts

  • The ATMAC programme is providing $3.1 million in grants until 30 June 2019.
  • This programme is part of a $30.8 million investment to improve access to premium markets in the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, launched on 4 July 2015.
  • In the agriculture portfolio since January 2016, over 30 key market access gains or restorations of markets have been achieved, and more than 19 key market access improvements or actions to maintain market access. Key achievements are listed at agriculture.gov.au/market-access-trade/agricultural-trade-matters/achievements.
  • Export earnings from farm commodities are forecast to increase by 6.7 per cent to $47.5 billion in 2016–17 from 2015-16 (ABARES Agricultural Commodities Report December 2016/17).