The global floriculture industry is extremely lucrative, generating worldwide annual profits of more than US$8 billion. Accounting for a combined share of more than 80 per cent of international trade by value are potted plants and cut flowers and foliage.
Production and profits are influenced by a number of determining factors, with household disposable income perhaps the most important in importing countries. However, Australian produce accounts for less than 1 per cent of the total products traded. While Australian exporters have the disadvantage of geographical distance from major market hubs such as the Netherlands or the United States, they are in close proximity to the rapidly expanding Asian markets.
Australian native plants are ideal products to answer consumer trends and niches due to their drought tolerance, water efficiency and unique shapes. To date, however, very little market research regarding native floriculture production within Queensland has been made available.
The University of Queensland is assisting with this challenge through its Food and Fibre Case Studies III course which provides an opportunity for students to apply what they have learned in a real-world group-work situation. This year, the four students worked with Queensland Farmers’ Federation and industry member Nursery and Garden Industry Queensland to provide an evidence base about the availability and attractiveness of markets opportunities for Queensland (and Australian) native flowers and foliage, either in pots or as cut stems.
This research project, entitled ‘Markets for Australian native flowers and foliage’, hoped to discover where possible development opportunities are appearing in international markets, and to substantiate those. The report provided a summary of the key research findings and a number of recommendations in regards to further research and current avenues through which the production of native flowers and foliage in Queensland may be enhanced with the ultimate goal of increasing the value and resilience of Queensland’s native cut flower and foliage industry. Specifically, this report noted the lack of robust data for the sector while suggesting that further research centre around consumer information in key overseas markets, and recommends that information on all areas spanning production through to freight and marketing of flowers and foliage is critical to increasing Queensland’s and indeed Australia’s international market share.
Read the Markets for Australian Native Flowers and Foliage report.