Food value surges as brand pays

Mercury (Hobart) - - TALKING POINT - writes Guy Bar­nett The worth of Tas­ma­nian agri­cul­ture shot up 9 per cent and our ex­ports hit $740 mil­lion in value, Lyons Lib­eral MHA Guy Bar­nett is Tas­ma­nian Pri­mary In­dus­tries and Wa­ter Min­is­ter.

THERE’S no greater sup­porter of Tas­ma­nian farm­ers and ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties than the State Gov­ern­ment.

Agri­cul­ture is a key pil­lar of the Tas­ma­nian econ­omy, with the lat­est Agri-Food score­card con­firm­ing 2017-2018 was an ex­cep­tional year, grow­ing 9.1 per cent to an an­nual value of $1.6 bil­lion.

Tas­ma­nia’s Agri-Food Score­card 2017-2018 shows we have what the world wants and the Tas­ma­nian brand is de­liv­er­ing real busi­ness out­comes, with record over­seas food ex­ports of $740 mil­lion.

The re­port shows we are on track to grow the value of Tas­ma­nia’s agri­cul­ture sec­tor to $10 bil­lion a year by 2050, driv­ing in­vest­ment in re­gional ar­eas and cre­at­ing lo­cal jobs.

The sec­tor is ben­e­fit­ing from Tas­ma­nia’s con­tin­ued GMO-free sta­tus, which pro­vides ac­cess to pre­mium mar­kets across the globe.

Key con­trib­u­tors achiev­ing strong ex­port growth in­clude: THE DAIRY in­dus­try set a milk vol­ume pro­duc­tion record and re­turned to be­ing the high­est value agri­cul­tural in­dus­try, worth $429 mil­lion at the farm gate.

BEEF was the se­cond-high­est­value agri­cul­tural prod­uct, in­creas­ing to be worth $329 mil­lion at the farm gate, and hit a record ex­port value of $210 mil­lion.

FRUIT pro­duc­tion rose by

27.8 per cent, driven by in­creased berry and cherry pro­duc­tion, and there was a sub­stan­tial in­crease in the value of ma­jor veg­etable crops such as pota­toes and salad greens.

To en­sure Tas­ma­nia’s agri­cul­ture sec­tor con­tin­ues to thrive, we re­cently launched our Sus­tain­able Agri-Food Plan 2019-23, which is our blue­print for con­tin­ued growth.

We are back­ing agri­cul­ture with $100 mil­lion in the 20192020 Bud­get to boost bor­der biose­cu­rity (in­clud­ing 20 new biose­cu­rity jobs), re­search and in­no­va­tion, farm pro­duc­tiv­ity, new mar­ket de­vel­op­ment, re­duc­ing on-farm en­ergy costs and the roll­out of Tranche 3 ir­ri­ga­tion schemes across the state.

The lat­est Rabobank Ru­ral Con­fi­dence Sur­vey shows farmer op­ti­mism has con­tin­ued to grow – with the state’s ru­ral sec­tor re­port­ing over­all strong profit pro­jec­tions and ro­bust in­vest­ment plans for the year ahead.

We are mind­ful that Tas­ma­nia is a state of two halves.

While some ar­eas have a promis­ing sea­son ahead, oth­ers are con­tin­u­ing to man­age drought con­di­tions, par­tic­u­larly on the East Coast.

We con­tinue to work closely with farm­ers and ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties and are pro­vid­ing $400,000 in prac­ti­cal drought sup­port to com­ple­ment the ex­ist­ing fed­eral as­sis­tance pro­grams.

We are also con­tin­u­ing to in­vest with farm­ers in de­vel­op­ing se­cure wa­ter through ir­ri­ga­tion.

The Hodg­man ma­jor­ity Lib­eral Gov­ern­ment is de­liv­er­ing our long-term plan, which is work­ing. In con­trast La­bor has no plan. They stand for noth­ing and sim­ply can­not be trusted.

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