Analysing new value chains

As part of Activity 4 of the High Value Horticulture Value Chains for the Queensland Murray-Darling Basin project, the following activities have been undertaken to analyse the horticultural supply chains in the Murray Darling Basin from St George in the west through to Inglewood in the east.

The activity identifies logistics and infrastructure that support horticultural supply chain as well as identifying other agricultural supply chains and infrastructure in the region.

Findings

Horticulture crops grown in the area

A number of horticultural crops have previously been grown in the region but due to environmental or economic reasons have ceased production. The horticultural crops that are currently grown include:

  • grapes for both table and wine usage
  • onions
  • pumpkins
  • olives
  • lavender
  • stone fruit.

There are a number of crops that are being developed in the area including limes, mandarins, garlic and blue berries.

The current horticultural crops are limited in volume mainly due to the number of growers., There are about 8 growers of table grapes. The rest are growing single horticultural crops such as garlic. The majority of horticultural growers are located in the St George area with a small number in and around Inglewood.

Supply chain infrastructure

The infrastructure in the horticulture supply chain is limited mainly to farm cool-room storage facilities. This allows for 24 to 48 hour consolidation of table grapes before the requirement to have road transport to move to market.

The use of road freight is essential for the movement of produce to market in a timely manner. The use of refrigerated trailers as temporary storage is also required, particularly in the table grape sector. The other agricultural supply chains in the region do have logistical infrastructure in place but it is discrete to each supply chain and does not lend itself to improvements in the horticultural supply chain.

Value-adding facilities

The value-adding facilities in the region for horticulture are limited to the olive and lavender industries. There is 1 grower in each of these industries and they have vertically integrated through growing, processing and distribution to domestic markets.

The size and capacity of these value-adding facilities has been developed to meet their own farm production. A number of other value adding facilities, that are suitable for horticultural products, are located east of the project area at Stanthorpe and north east in and around Toowoomba.

Efficiency challenges

There are a number of efficiency challenges in the Murray Darling Basin horticultural supply chain including limited volume, number of operators and redundancy capacity.

The main driver is time— the need to get the perishable produce to the retail sector quickly to provide maximum shelf life.

The solutions to improving efficiencies in the horticultural supply chain include:

  • enabling growers to collaborate and share infrastructure
  • increase volumes of current crops
  • increase diversity of crops—with a focus on crops that utilise similar infrastructure but at different harvest times.

Reports