AUSVEG, the national Peak Industry Body for Australian vegetable growers, has endorsed comments made at the opening of the Global Food Forum by Visy Executive Chairman Anthony Pratt, about the need for more coherent and long-term planning for Australian farming.

“If Australia is to ever reach its potential as one of the global leaders in the supply of fresh, clean and high quality food, a long-term vision must be held by our farmers, food processors and political leaders,” said AUSVEG Chief Executive Officer Richard Mulcahy.

“I must also echo Mr Pratt’s comments about the need for investment in packaging, as this is one area which can improve the presentation and shelf life of Australian produce, allowing it to reach – and succeed in – foreign markets,” said Mr Mulcahy.

The Australian vegetable industry is currently investing heavily in Research and Development relating to product packaging, and will be hosting a seminar for Australian growers in June to highlight product and packaging innovation from the world.

“As a nation, we must also consider statements made by News Corp Australia’s Peter Tonagh about Australia currently only possessing the basics necessary to get food to Asia, and what we can do to improve the movement of product to these expanding markets,” said Mr Mulcahy.

“There is a real need to improve how we get our food to Asia, and initiatives, like a direct international shipping service from Tasmania, would mean we can land quality Australian produce in Asian markets more quickly,” said Mr Mulcahy.

The Global Food Forum is taking place today at the Westin Hotel in Sydney, and features speakers including federal Minister for Agriculture the Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP, Opposition Agriculture Spokesperson The Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP and Managing Director of Coles, Ian McLeod.

“I also support the comments made at the Global Food Forum today by Coles Managing Director, Ian McLeod. We produce some of the best fruit and vegetables in the world, but we are falling behind in terms of global competitiveness, compared to our neighbours across the ditch in New Zealand.”

“Australian growers face rising input costs, increased red tape and the sixth-highest labour costs in the world. Future demand for fruit and vegetables in Asia is greater than for any other commodity, but we need to address these obstacles to ensure that Australian vegetable growers can be profitable exporters,” said Mr Mulcahy.

“I commend the organisers of today’s forum, as access to food will be one of the key drivers of global trends in the coming century, and Australia can play an enormous part in providing for these needs, however, for this to happen, we need to look to the future,” said Mr Mulcahy.

The forum continues.


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