Australia: Fresh produce industry sets ambitious goal for 2030

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Australia: Fresh produce industry sets ambitious goal for 2030

The Australian Fresh Produce Alliance (AFPA) announced today its goals for growth in the fresh produce industry. It made key recommendations to increase the value of the industry from AUD$9bn to US$20bn (US$16bn) by 2030.

Titled "Growing a healthier Australia, the Fresh Produce Industry Roadmap", the alliance's paper highlights specific initiatives for future growth.

It outlines four main points on specific steps the industry should take. They include opening key export markets, clearly outlining water policy to increase efficiency, gaining access to reliable and skilled labor and investing in research and development.

“These are all crucial issues for the industry to grow to $20 billion in revenue by 2030," said AFPA Chairman Harry Debney.

"The fresh produce sector deserves a prominent seat at the table when it comes to the future direction of Australian agriculture and farming."

AFPA's four points to success in growth

The industry report states that growth will only occur if farmers gain access to more consumers via export opportunities.

Debney detailed that securing market access should be a priority for the Australian government.

Ensuring that water rights and appropriate policies are put in place is also important for the industry. It emphasizes that the government should create clear policy that dictates the use, investment and reuse of water - long term.

“The water trading market needs to be appropriately regulated to ensure transparency and promote confidence in the operation of the market so that water is put to its most optimal use,” said Debney.

Moving forward, the industry speaks to challenges associated with labor shortages. The sector specifically says that the Australian tax system has an impact on this.

Since most agricultural work is regional and remote, the AFPA sees labor access as a question of regulations.

For example, it says policies must maintain benefits related to remote housing and vehicle use, according to Debney.

Finally, the industry highlights the importance of ongoing investment in research and development for harvest and post-harvest practices. This includes development of food traceability and safety, product quality and reducing waste.

AFPA urges the government to continue its support of investment in new plant varieties and production techniques.

The role of Australia's fresh produce industry

Along with providing these recommendations, the AFPA emphasizes the importance of the industry for Australia. It says that fresh produce deserves recognition because of its impact on the well-being of the Australian people.

“Horticulture is the fastest growing sector in Australian agriculture. It will be impossible to achieve the Government’s goal of a $100 billion agriculture industry by 2030 without continuous and significant growth in horticulture,” said Debney.

"As industry leaders, AFPA members call on Government to review and prioritize recommendations in this White Paper to grow a healthier Australia and a stronger Australian horticulture industry."

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