$100b target for agriculture

Tari JeffersManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Growers and stakeholders are being called on to submit ways to improve agriculture to a $100b industry by 2030.
Camera IconGrowers and stakeholders are being called on to submit ways to improve agriculture to a $100b industry by 2030. Credit: Supplied

Industry leaders believe the Lower South West is well placed to help grow the Australian agriculture sector to $100 billion by 2030.

This comes following the launch of the Federal House Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources’ inquiry into growing the industry from $60 billion annually.

The inquiry was launched on September 3 after the National Farmers’ Federation suggested the $100 billion figure was achievable.

Committee head O’Connor MHR Rick Wilson said the global demand for food was projected to grow 54 per cent by 2050.

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“Australian agriculture is well placed to make a significant contribution to supplying this growing demand and in the process increase its value and profitability,” he said.

“The horticulture sector in the Southern Forests is going through exciting times, such as the growth in the avocado industry and many more. “Markets for horticulture produce is a need in the region and while we have opened up some with Free Trade Agreements, we can do more.”

Mr Wilson said whether it was by improving market access or investing in marketing or innovative technologies to increase efficiency, sustainability and productivity of farms, the committee was interested in all opportunities available to drive growth in Australian agricultural businesses.

“I encourage anyone from the Southern Forests and Blackwood regions with an idea or an interest to make a submission,” he said.

Southern Forests Food Council chairwoman Monica Radomiljac was pleased the Federal Government listened to the National Farmers’ Federation’s concerns and was seeking ways to move the industry forward in a profitable and sustainable way.

“There is always the need to attract seasonal and permanent workers, we must be open to attracting investment and innovation towards becoming more profitable and sustainable, we must stay aware of the changing consumer expectations and actively promote our industry as responsible with as low a carbon footprint as is possible,” she said. “The Southern Forests region has plenty of room for expansion of agriculture but this expansion must be profitable, sustainable and accompanied by a push to increase markets especially export programs.”

Manjimup fruit grower and former Pomewest chairman Harvey Giblett was confident the region would play a part in growing the industry.

“We are already one of the major horticulture and agriculture produce areas and there is the potential to further increase,” he said.

Mr Giblett said as the region’s climate, resources and soils were conducive to growing produce, there were options to expand existing markets.

“While we can never know what the next niche market will be, there’s great opportunities to grow new products as they emerge.”

Visit website bit.ly/2T2dMG1 for more information on how to make a submission by October 14.

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