Australian Federal Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Richard Colbeck, officially welcomed two new bodies—Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited (HIA Ltd) and the Voice of Horticulture (VoH)—at a Horticulture Industry Forum in Canberra today.
Minister Joyce said horticulture has an essential role to play in the future of our agriculture sector, and the establishment of HIA Ltd is an important investment in that future.
“I want to have confidence that the funding that goes to research is generating good outcomes for both growers and taxpayers—the establishment of HIA Ltd as a grower-owned company, providing research, development and marketing services, gives me that confidence,” Minister Joyce said.
“HIA Ltd is now consulting widely with levy payers and other stakeholders to develop a strategic plan that ensures future investments maximise the profitability of growers and takes industry forward.”
Minister Joyce said Australia’s horticulture sector made a significant contribution to our economy, with horticulture production valued at more than $9.2 billion, exports valued at over $1.8 billion, and almost 62,000 people employed in the industry.
“With around 17,000 horticulture businesses across the sector, having capable organisations like HIA Ltd and Voice of Horticulture that can provide a unified industry position to government is vital for growers,” Minister Joyce said.
“I look forward to working with Voice of Horticulture as they take up this representative role.”
Senator Colbeck said boosting farmgate profits and improving market access continue to be key priorities for the Australian Government.
“The Australian Government is committed to working closely with industry to ensure the best possible deal in negotiations with trading partners,” Senator Colbeck said.
“Having alternative markets is an important element in the capacity for farmers and the food industry more generally to make a higher margin. A collaborative approach to market access will increase the effectiveness of our technical market access and trade development efforts.”
Minister Joyce said he congratulated the industry as a whole on their work to establish these two bodies.
“I look forward to working with both HIA Ltd and Voice of Horticulture to forge an even stronger, more unified future for the horticulture industry,” Minister Joyce said.
Australian fruit and vegetable growers are encouraged to register as a member of HIA Ltd, and should visit http://www.horticulture.com.au/membership/ for more information about how to join.
Posted 19 March 2015