At almost every meal, half a plate is dedicated to us, however we are often forgotten about.
Vegetables and potatoes are not only an important part of the Australian diet, but the sectors are also significant components of the Australian agriculture framework.
AUSVEG is the national peak body of vegetable and potato growers, representing the industry that is helping to feed Australians and their families. We are run by growers, for growers, and the industry is ready to grow to new heights.
The AUSVEG 2022 Federal Election Priority document brings together these core concepts of combining broader Australian social benefits of eating vegetables and potatoes with the positive employment and economic benefits that growers generate for their regional communities.
The priorities outlined in this document will allow the $4.8 billion sector to not only grow in value, but also help boost other parts of the economy and help secure the next generation of jobs in our regional and rural communities.
These priorities have been developed through extensive consultation and collaboration with AUSVEG’s state members, as well as growers across the country.
The priorities are set around three central themes:
Driving increased consumption
Driving increased consumption leads to both domestic and overseas opportunities.
Increasing domestic consumption requires bold new thinking to tackle a persistent and worsening problem. Data from the Fruit & Vegetable Consortium (FVC) indicates that vegetable consumption is too low, and declining over time. However, the FVC outlines the benefits of increasing vegetable consumption, with an increase of just half a serve of vegetables per day conservatively generating an incremental increase in industry returns of $634 million per year, which is shared by all parties along the food supply chain. Not only that, but every new job also created in the industry supports an additional job in the regional economy.
On the export front, the vegetable industry is just getting started. Increasing trade and market access to countries such as Singapore, UAE, Malaysia, South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand will further enhance our selling opportunities for growers.
Developing more effective businesses
Developing more efficient businesses starts with access to a more efficient, reliable and competent workforce.
While the Australian Agriculture Visa and Pacific Island programs are significant pieces of that complex puzzle, other pieces include affordable and reasonable accommodation options for workers and greater skilled career opportunities for the domestic workforce. Improved business management and negotiation skills are critical for farm businesses to become more prepared to effectively negotiate with their buyers and their banks.
While greater market transparency will increase grower knowledge of pricing fluctuations and give them access to the free, timely and accurate market information they need to make more informed decisions for benefit of their business.
Becoming a more resilient industry
Becoming a more resilient industry is about planning for the future.
This includes better understanding our customers’ expectations and preparing for the constant challenges that the climate brings. From fires, floods, droughts and COVID, our growers have dealt with a wide range of issues outside of their control, but they can prepare to mitigate the impacts on their businesses and on our future food security. It also includes improved management for food safety and how the uptake in new technology can assist in ensuring Australia’s fresh produce is safe for all consumers.
These central themes are the core of the development of the vegetable and potato sector as it strives to become an $8 billion sector by 2030.