The Queensland Government has released a strategy roadmap designed to achieve the ambitious target of doubling the State’s agricultural production in volume and value terms by 2040.
In a state that runs more than half of the nation’s cattle herd, and more than half of its beef processing capacity, both producers and processors have welcomed the State’s commitment to the long-term future of the industry.
The “2040 vision for Queensland agriculture” plan contains 60 initiatives designed to drive productivity, improve resilience and increase profitability of farmers, according to Queensland agriculture minister John McVeigh.
The 60 initiatives fall under four broad headings of securing and increasing resource availability; driving productivity improvements across the supply chain; securing and increasing market access and minimising production costs.
More specific initiatives include:
- Continuing to strengthen biosecurity systems to make Queensland the best prepared state to prevent and combat foot and mouth disease;
- Workforce Development Plans to improve agricultural skills and career pathways;
- Industry Actions Plans to address the pathways to growth in key industries; and
- Implementing the Agricultural Research, Development and Extension Plan focusing on beef, horticulture, sugar and broadacre cropping to support world-leading sub-tropical and tropical agriculture.
The full document outlining the Queensland Government strategy can be viewed by clicking here
Launching the strategy in Toowoomba yesterday, Mr McVeigh said that with an increasing global population and expanding middle-class in Asia, the coming decade represented an unprecedented opportunity for growth.
“We’re determined to become a major, high-quality food producer of choice for Asia’s growing middle classes,” he said.
“This strategy will help deliver the goods.
“With a reputation for safe, clean, quality produce, Queensland is ideally positioned to take full advantage of this opportunity.”
Mr McVeigh said action had to be taken to help industry become more resilient in the face of significant challenges including a high Australian dollar and declining terms of trade.
“Our producers are also dealing with rising production costs, waning productivity, competition for natural resources, biosecurity risks, and climate variability.
“We understand the significance of these challenges, and the Newman Government will stand alongside industry to ensure we embrace every opportunity that presents itself.”
AgForce Queensland president Ian Burnett said the strategy laid the foundations required to solidify Queensland’s position as one of the world’s foremost suppliers of food and fibre and to capitalise on burgeoning market opportunities in Asia.
He said it provided important recognition of the critical role agriculture plays in the Queensland economy, and incorporated a number of issues identified by AgForce as crucial to the future productivity of the sector.
These factors included minimisation of costs, increasing productivity and market access and securing human and natural resources.
However, Mr Burnett warned adequate resourcing and policy frameworks must be put in place if the aspirational goals outlined in the plan were to be realised.
“We understand that existing budgets are tight however we will be looking to greater resourcing in coming years to support the plan outlined this morning by Minister McVeigh,” he said.
“We suggest the refocusing of funds will not come at the cost of service delivery in other areas.”
The Queensland Farmers Federation said that if the State Government enacts the initiatives contained in the strategy, it will go close to achieving its ambitious goal to double agricultural production by 2040.
QFF chief executive officer Dan Galligan said the Agriculture Strategy was “a positive document with a broad intent for growth”.
“The strategy hits on all the right principles that underpin growth; it shows the Minister really understands the framework within which farmers operate,” Mr Galligans said.
“However, it will be how industry and government work together on these issues that will enable individual farmers to become more profitable and productive that will deliver a stronger agriculture sector that benefits all of Queensland.”
The meat processing sector – which is Queensland’s largest manufacturing sector – has also welcomed the Queensland Government’s initiative to implement a long-term strategy for agriculture.
However it has also called on the Queensland Government to ensure the strategy recognises the significance of all sectors of the value adding chain.
“This strategy is a good move forward,” JBS Australia director and manager, corporate and regulatory affairs, John Berry said.
“It is putting a line in the sand, it is setting targets and it is underpinned by specific actions.
“But it is production orientated, and we need to use this as a base for the government to also focus on specific issues that meat processors, as major investors in this state, have in regards to costs and competitiveness.”