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Securing our food future: farmers welcome National Food Plan

25 May 2013

A day after the Australian agricultural sector came together in Canberra to progress the sector’s strategic plan, the Blueprint for Australian Agriculture, farmers have welcomed the Government’s long-awaited plan for the future of the food sector, the National Food Plan.

National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) President Duncan Fraser says the Plan, released in Brisbane by Minister Ludwig today, responds to many of the challenges set for the Government by the NFF.

“The Food Plan, at its highest level, is designed to help Australian food businesses overcome their diverse challenges, and benefit from emerging markets in Asia. It’s an ambitious goal, and to ensure it remains relevant - and beneficial - to farmers at the forefront of producing our food, the NFF set a series of direct challenges to the Government: things we wanted to see included in the Food Plan,” Mr Fraser said.

“We are pleased to see today that the Government has listened.

“We asked the Government to include collaboration between the agricultural sector and the Government on the creation of brands to promote Australian production. Today, the Minister has announced $2 million as part of the Food Plan to develop a brand identity for Australian food and related technology.

“We asked the Government to ensure that work is done beyond the farm gate to improve opportunities for farmers to sell their produce, including a greater investment in understanding international markets. The Minister has today announced $28.5 million for research to tackle roadblocks to export, including a study into food needs and preferences, helping businesses increase their exports.

“We asked the Government to ensure that investment is made into technical capacity – ensuring that we build strong relationships with our key markets, so that these market opportunities are then translated into sales of produce. We are pleased to note that the Food Plan includes $5.6 million to build relationships with trading partners, including expanding the network of specialists that support agricultural trade in Asia.

“We asked for competitiveness and benchmarking tools to drive an increase in productivity across the supply chain, including a review of current legislation with the aim of reducing the amount of red tape. The Government has today said it will invest in a Productivity Commission review to identify priority areas of reform of food supply regulations, from paddock to plate.

“Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we asked the Government to play a role in working with the agricultural sector to improve consumers’ understanding and perception of agriculture. We welcome the inclusion of $1.5 million to develop resources and provide professional development to support teaching about food and agriculture through the Australian curriculum – this is a starting point for what must be a greater long-term investment from Government and industry.

“This is a great outcome for Australian farmers, the NFF and agriculture in general, and we look forward to working with both current and future governments on the implementation of the Food Plan,” Mr Fraser said.

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