By Growcom CEO, David Thomson

There is more than $3 billion in unmet market demand for food products across some of Australia’s leading export destinations for agricultural commodities, according to a new study by the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA).

Growcom welcomes the findings of the 12-month North Queensland Agricultural Market and Supply Chain Study, which bodes well for the future of horticulture in the region.

The study examined ten priority export markets for over 30 potential products, resulting in avocadoes and macadamias highlighted in the top five high-value commodities likely to offer the most in future growth and export returns for the region.

Strategic efforts to develop these industries along with beef, soybeans, and on-shore aquaculture could create thousands of new jobs and result in up to $271.1 million in additional value being created from North Queensland’s agricultural sector.

Adding value to supply chains and utilising existing cropping land use into diversified rotation cropping systems have been identified as essential factors in creating this additional value for North Queensland.

As water and electricity prices have continued to increase over the years we have already seen a trend in transitioning land use, particularly amongst canegrowers looking to diversify into horticulture.

Some have ‘doubled down’ on agriculture by converting some of their land into macadamia and avocado plantations. In doing so they have not only boosted their returns but discovered new export opportunities.

As the first of its kind conducted in the region, the CRCNA study shows the tremendous opportunities that can be created when industry and research work together. Growcom has supported this study from its inception, with our Hort360 Innovation Coach Steve Tiley assisting throughout the research and reporting phase.

The success of this study has directly resulted in the establishment of the ‘North Queensland Agricultural Supply Chain Alliance’, which will work collectively to identify and progress new agricultural supply chain projects across North Queensland.

Growcom continues to support the Australian Government’s commitment to Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) and looks forward to working with Alliance members and other agriculture industry bodies to see out the next steps of this project. Growcom aspires for this and other similar projects to pioneer new avenues for horticulture exports while not placing undue oversupply burden on the domestic market.

Growers looking to learn more about this project and the opportunities it presents are encouraged to contact Growcom’s Hort360 Innovation Coach Steve Tiley at stiley@growcom.com.au or call 0417 743 614.

Any horticulture growers interested in exploring export markets for their products and build their export capabilities are encouraged to contact Growcom’s Export Facilitator Peter Hockings at phockings@growcom.com.au or call 0427 118 953.