By Growcom Chief Executive Stephen Barnard

As part of its policy platform ahead of the last state election the Queensland Horticulture Council called on the next Queensland Government to support the development of an industry strategic plan for the state’s fresh produce sector.

We’re a sector worth $3 billion to the state’s economy, responsible for growing wealth and creating new jobs in many regional communities, and yet lack any vision of where we were headed and how we were going to get there. Too much was being left to chance.

So we’re particularly pleased that the Palaszczuk Government, Agriculture Minister Mark Furner and his department are lending their welcome support to this important initiative.

Growcom, on behalf of the fresh produce sector, has been charged with bringing key stakeholders along the supply chain together and guiding the development of the strategic plan, called Future Fields.

Often, strategic planning processes are met with a degree of scepticism by those that are meant to benefit from them. This is borne of too many well intentioned plans sitting on shelves collecting dust.

This is a pitfall we’re setting about avoiding at the very outset, by ensuring awareness is raised early and all interested parties are involved to engender the broadest possible ownership of the vision and resulting actions.

Future Fields is about the horticulture industry and supply chain partners coming together and taking their futures into their own hands.

This approach is underpinned by the understanding that people who take responsibility in a situation have the best chance of taking actions which will make a difference.

While the strategy enjoys the explicit support of the Queensland Government, it is not a government document and nor will the actions arising from Future Fields necessarily rely on further government support or funding.

The success of Future Fields then will be a product of how much we’re willing to put into it.

The view at Growcom is that this is an exceptionally important opportunity to set up the Queensland fresh produce sector and supply chain for years to come, and to ensure we remain the preeminent state for horticultural production, supply chain innovation and food processing.

We believe this view is widely shared among our friends and colleagues in horticulture and along the supply chain.

This is just the start of a conversation. For now, find more information at our landing page, subscribe for email updates and join the Facebook group.