The global marketplace must be the Australian vegetable industry’s “number one focus”, to ensure its ongoing prosperity, says AUSVEG CEO, Richard Mulcahy.
Speaking during the Regional Leaders Forum on the future of agribusiness in Queensland today, Mr Mulcahy said despite the superb quality and cleanliness of Australian produce, only seven per cent was exported.
“This statistic is troubling, perhaps even disturbing, in light of our industry’s accomplishments,” said Mr Mulcahy.
AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.
Mr Mulcahy said that political and consumer support, strengthened supply chains, ongoing innovation and aggressive pushes into foreign markets were keys to improving the statistic.
“To grow the world’s best produce and only capitalise on this achievement within our population of 23 million is simply wasted potential.”
“There are markets right on our doorstep with increasing demand for Australian produce and, as it currently stands we are not harnessing the full potential of those demands. Hence the global market place must be our number one focus moving in to the future of agribusiness,” said Mr Mulcahy.
He also warned of the need to stay vigilant against the tide of cheap foreign imports.
“We can equally say that Australian produce is amongst the safest in the world, something we as Australians often take for granted when we sit down at the dinner table.”
“Globally, food safety is a growing concern, with international consumers in developing economies facing frightening safety risks from poorly grown produce,” he said.
To assist the Australian vegetable industry reach its potential, events including a Produce Innovation Seminar, a Reverse Trade Mission and an Exporting to Japan Symposium are being held in Cairns in June.
“These events will assist growers in identifying innovations, while also exposing them to foreign buyers and market access strategies to unlock export opportunities,” said Mr Mulcahy.
The Regional Leaders Forum: Food for Thought – the Future of Agribusiness event in Boonah, was a joint initiative of the Australian Government, Regional Development Australia and Scenic Rim Regional Council.
MEDIA CONTACT: William Churchill, AUSVEG Communications and Public Affairs Manager.
Phone: (03) 9882 0277, Mobile: 0411 166 748, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.