This coming week growers in Bundaberg and Mundubbera, together with their supply chain partners, are coming together to decide on the key challenges that need to be addressed to secure the long term success of the Queensland fresh produce sector.   

The workshops are being conducted by Growcom, the peak body representing the state’s fruit, vegetable and nut growers, who are charged with bringing key stakeholders along the supply chain together and guiding the development of a new 10-year strategic plan, called Future Fields.

Growcom Chair and vegetable grower Belinda Frentz said the sector couldn’t rest on its laurels and that while COVID-19 has caused enormous pain and disruption, it would also continue to create opportunity for those ready and willing to adapt.

“The pandemic has kept our focus on the present. It’s essential as a sector we now raise our sights to the future. The winners over the next ten years are being determined today. 

“Future Fields will ensure Queensland remains the preeminent state for horticultural production, supply chain innovation and food processing, and that we position ourselves as a preferred place for investment from interstate and overseas” Ms Frentz said.

Growcom Chief Executive Stephen Barnard said the industry expected further challenges and disruptions over the next decade, including changes in the climate and weather patterns, shifts in consumer preferences, and the emergence of new technologies and production systems.

“Change and disruption is part and parcel of the fresh produce sector. We can however be more proactive, and get ready for those challenges we know are most likely and will have the biggest impact. 

“Our workshops in Bundaberg and Mundubbera then are about hearing directly from those dealing with these challenges today and already thinking about how to solve them, as individual businesses and as an industry.

“We know improving water security and growing export markets are two key concerns for the sector in both the Wide Bay and Burnett, and these are likely areas we will focus on through the new strategic plan, but there are other pieces of the puzzle we need to place.”     

The first workshop will be held in Bundaberg on Monday 1st November at the Bundaberg AgTechHub, followed by Munduberra on Thursday 4th November at the Royal Hotel, better known as the Bottom Pub.

Those interested in attending are encouraged to register at www.futurefields.info

Future Fields is proudly supported and funded by the Queensland Government.