Garlic and asparagus imports account for almost 60% of the value of fresh vegetable imports in 2013-14. Garlic imports fell by 9% in 2013-14, after increasing by 25% in 2012-13. Garlic imports remain the major category of fresh vegetable imports in 2013-14. Asparagus imports increased by 6% in 2013-14 and has increased by 88% since 2010-11. Capsicum imports also increased by 6% in 2013-14. In contrast, imports of onions and shallots fell 22% and peas by 26%. Apart from garlic, fresh imports remain largely counter seasonal or in response to temporary domestic shortages.
In contrast to last year, the import value of nearly every vegetable included on the vegetable industry’s frozen vegetable list increased in 2013-14. Prepared potatoes, the major frozen vegetable import, increased by 15% on 2012-13 to total $114 million. Imports of vegetable mixes and peas rose 7% and 8% respectively. Sweet corn imports also grew 1% to $14 million, beans 15% to $12 million and spinach 14% to 7 million.
Prepared vegetables are the largest processed vegetable import by value. In 2013-14 they rose 23% to $76. Tomatoes (whole or pieces) are the second largest type of process imports and increased by 26% to 67 million, slightly below to 2008-09 levels. Prepared tomato products also increased by 9% to $38 million. After four years of consecutive increases, potato product imports fell in 2013-14 to $27 million, by 13%. Imports of tomato sauces rose by 64% to $30 million.
In 2013-14, vegetable products imported in the other category increased by 7% to $123 million. Vegetable seed imports increased by 7% to 56 million, the highest recorded in the past six years and dried vegetable imports also increased by 17% to $48 million.
In summary, the increase in vegetable imports in 2013-14 was driven largely by the surge in processed vegetable imports. More specifically, the growth of process vegetable mixes by $14 million, tomatoes whole or pieces $14 million and frozen prepared potatoes $15 million.
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