New road map for Mur­ray tourism and agribusi­ness in­dus­tries

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - On The Land -

The cre­ation of a new Mur­ray Re­gional Food Coun­cil, a food prove­nance ac­cred­i­ta­tion sys­tem, re­gional food brand and a ‘farm to plate’ busi­ness in­no­va­tion in­cu­ba­tor are just four new ini­tia­tives pro­posed in a new ‘Mur­ray Farm to Plate’ Con­sul­tant Re­port de­liv­ered to Mur­ray Re­gional Tourism re­cently.

From min­ing to din­ing boom: tourism and agribusi­ness are set to be among Aus­tralia’s fastest grow­ing in­dus­tries of the com­ing decade. This is a trend Mur­ray Re­gional Tourism is de­ter­mined to cap­i­talise on.

The pro­posed Mur­ray Re­gional Food Coun- cil would pro­vide a plat­form for col­lab­o­ra­tion across all sec­tors and the govern­ment and to over­see the de­liv­ery of these new ini­tia­tives.

If cre­ated, a new re­gional food brand would be backed by a new food prove­nance ac­cred­i­ta­tion sys­tem. The brand would cel­e­brate and lever­age ev­ery lo­cal prod­ucts’ ori­gins and food jour­ney in a sim­i­lar way to how the wine in­dus­try dif­fer­en­ti­ates by grow­ing re­gion.

Chair of Mur­ray Re­gional Tourism, Wendy Greiner, said the com­ple­tion of the Mur­ray Farm to Plate Re­port is an im­por­tant mile­stone and is crit­i­cal for the fu­ture growth of both the tourism and agri­cul­ture in­dus­tries in the re­gion.

“We now have a sound un­der­stand­ing of both the chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties we are fac­ing,” Ms Greiner said.

“How­ever, im­por­tantly, we also have a clear di­rec­tion to fi­nalise the road map to im­prove the qual­ity, au­then­tic­ity and avail­abil­ity of lo­cally pro­duced food and bev­er­age ex­pe­ri­ences for visi­tors and lo­cals in the Mur­ray re­gion.

“Across six months and 10 work­shops, we en­gaged with over 230 peo­ple from across the en­tire sup­ply chain, in­clud­ing pro­duc­ers, trans­port op­er­a­tors, whole­salers and dis­trib­u­tors who con­nect with the food ser­vice and in­de­pen­dent re­tail busi­nesses.

“I would like to thank each and ev­ery one of those peo­ple who vol­un­teered their time and contributed their ideas. I also wish to recog­nise and ac­knowl­edge the work of our team at Mur­ray Re­gional Tourism for over­see­ing the whole process.”

A fi­nal round of in­dus­try con­sul­ta­tion will now be un­der­taken to fi­nalise the Mur­ray Farm to Plate Strat­egy and five sub-re­gional Farm to Plate clus­ter ac­tion plans.

The in­dus­try isn’t com­ing from a stand­ing start, ei­ther: res­i­dents and visi­tors spend a com­bined $2.2 bil­lion in the Mur­ray re­gion on food and drink each year.

From a tourism per­spec­tive the ben­e­fit is the de­liv­ery of high qual­ity and au­then­tic food and agri­tourism prod­ucts and ex­pe­ri­ences for visi­tors.

From an agri-food per­spec­tive, the ben­e­fit is the abil­ity to tap into and con­nect with high yield mar­kets and de­velop di­rect re­la­tion­ships with con­sumers and buy­ers.

The op­por­tu­ni­ties and po­ten­tial ben­e­fits of this work to both the food and vis­i­tor economies in the re­gion are sig­nif­i­cant.

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