AUSVEG participated in today’s briefing for the horticulture industry on the future of the Federal Government’s International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) program.

Today’s briefing session was scheduled by AusTrade specifically to update horticultural exporters on the current IFAM arrangements and the future of the program.

The session included Q&A with IFAM program leads Australian Government Freight Controller Air Vice-Marshall Margaret Staib, and International Freight Coordinator Michael Byrne.

The following summary is provided for grower-exporters that were unable to attend:

  • Since IFAM commenced on 1 April 2020 it has moved over 330,000 tonnes of agricultural and aquaculture produce valued at AUD$4.5 billion on over 10,000 flights to 68 international destinations.
  • Horticulture has been the largest user of the IFAM program, followed by seafood, lamb, beef and dairy.
  • Horticultural exports through IFAM has seen the export of over 135,000 tonnes valued at AUD$1.2 billion of fresh fruit and vegetables sent to international markets. Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Auckland and Dubai the main destinations for IFAM flights carrying fresh produce.
  • It was reiterated that IFAM is a temporary and emergency measure that is currently scheduled to cease in June 2021 and currently there is no certainty further funding will be provided for it to be extended beyond the middle of the year.
  • IFAM highlighted that airfreight prices are unlikely to drop to pre-COVID rates in the foreseeable future. Airlines globally are expected to take the opportunity to reset freight rates as airlines now know the value and importance of airfreight to exporting industries.
  • Given the outlook for IFAM and airfreight generally, the IFAM team strongly encouraged exporting businesses and industries to:
    • Investigate how to adapt and evolve business models.
    • Conversion to sea freight where viable.
    • Consider manufacturing or value-adding opportunities to extend shelf-life.
    • Investigate market diversification opportunities.
  • Several new IFAM flights to various markets have commenced. You can view the flight schedule on the IFAM website.

Further industry briefings will be scheduled in the coming weeks and months. AUSVEG will advise exporting growers of these sessions as they are scheduled.

For further information, please contact the AUSVEG Export Department on (03) 9882 0277 or at