By Growcom Manager, Policy & Advocacy Richard Shannon
Queensland is Australia’s premier state for the production of fruits, vegetables and nuts. Fully one third of all fresh produce grown nationally comes out of the Sunshine State.
We have an abundance of natural resources, and a wide array of growing conditions ideal for a variety of crops.
But there is nothing permanent to our dominance.
Each of the competitive advantages the Queensland horticulture industry currently enjoys will be challenged in some way by new, disruptive technologies.
We are still enjoying the legacy of past significant investments into research and the development of tropical horticulture. This pipeline of improvements must continue to flow.
We cannot afford to rest on our laurels. Instead, to maintain our position as the premier state for fresh produce, we must push aggressively into new fields and domains, and accelerate our adoption of new tools and techniques.
A green spring in Queensland, the policy platform of the horticulture industry for the coming Queensland election, identifies a number of actions to be taken by the next Queensland Government to maintain our advantage.
Firstly, we need a R&D strategy for tropical horticulture, to focus our strengths and draw investment into Queensland from interstate and overseas.
We also need support for growers by helping remove risk, with funding for businesses both commercialising new, innovative products or processes and implementing cutting edge technologies already on the market.
Improving our competitiveness cannot come at the expense of our sustainability. We need to be profitable, environmentally responsible and maintain the support of the public all at the same time.
But government must realise imposing regulation is not the most efficient or effective way of achieving sustainability.
The Queensland horticulture industry is calling on the next Queensland Government to commit to exploring as a priority financial and market-based incentives to encourage the adoption of improved natural resource management practices, rather than relying on imposing
regulation and greater costs on growers.
This includes a request to invest $5 million over four years to support growers in Great Barrier Reef catchments to voluntarily improve their practices and achieve better water quality outcomes.
To learn more about A green spring in Queensland visit our website: www.growcom.com.au/a-green-spring-in-queensland