Territory politicians and farmers have always dreamed about exporting agricultural produce to our northern neighbors.
Despite the NT's proximity to Asia and agricultural potential, plant based exports have largely failed to become a reality.
However, 2021 could mark a pivotal turning point in the Territory's export economy.
New commercial cargo services have opened up between Darwin and Singapore, providing farmers with the opportunity to take advantage of both sea and air freight connections.
Cargo aircraft fly out of Darwin four times a week and ships dock in Darwin roughly every two weeks, these constant connections now enable farmers to sell their harvests to new international markets.
Farmers in the Top End, including in Katherine, have seized the opportunity to try the new export services.
Farmers in the Top End, including in Katherine, have seized the opportunity to try the new export services
This year, mangoes were sent on multiple flights to Singapore and pumpkins and melons have been sent in refrigerated sea containers.
The industry has received extremely positive feedback from export service agencies and customers regarding Territory produce.
Due to the relatively short distances involved, produce is arriving fresh and in excellent condition.
Historically, farmers who wanted to test international markets had to first send produce to the south before it was shipped to Asia. Naturally, this resulted in longer transit times which often diminished the quality of produce.
Farmers can take advantage of these new supply routes to diversify their crops and lower their exposure to domestic market risks.
Farmers no longer must depend on domestic markets in the south, they can now sell to Singapore and to potentially other new international markets in the future.
Asian middle and upper classes are demanding the finest quality agricultural products, Territory farmers can potentially profit from this demand and in turn create jobs for Territorians.
In addition, the ability to access new markets allows farmers to experiment with new crops to sell to discerning international consumers.
NT Farmers Association is committed to supporting farmers to access and sell to international markets.
The association has extensively campaigned government and industry to enhance the Territory's supply chains and export services.
NT Farmers is currently undertaking a project to identify how the Territory's supply chains can be optimized to encourage further export opportunities for local farmers.
Findings from the project will be used to underpin improvements to our export sector.
Farmers in Katherine and the Top End produce some of the best produce in the world, it is time for international consumers to get a taste of our amazing produce!
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