Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Moreton Bay mission to grow region’s agribusiness industry

Moreton Bay Regional Council has announced it will develop a Food and Agribusiness Industry Plan to grow and future-proof the local sector.

“Agriculture, forestry and fishing in the Moreton Bay region supports 3,145 local jobs, generates $708 million in local sales each year, and is a key pillar of our Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS),” said Mayor, Peter Flannery said.

Council hosted an engagement workshop with producers at Woodford yesterday.

“The Woodford area is a significant contributor to the region’s agri-business successes, with 43 agriculture and forestry businesses, accounting for 13% of employment in the local area,” said Mayor Flannery.

“We want our passionate farmers, producers and entrepreneurs to continue to build the landscape and capitalise on our opportunities.”

He said Council discussed with local producers ways to grow the agribusiness workforce, access suitable land, adopt the latest technology and recognise opportunities to grow and flourish.

“What that means in a practical sense is this: we produce high-quality, fresh produce in a clean environment, such as our strawberries, pineapples, prawns, bugs and crabs – and sustainable farming practices are often used,” he said.

“We can position ourselves as local, fresh and sustainable to continue expanding, as well as exploring new production areas such as oyster and seaweed production.

“We can also explore more intensive agriculture, diversification, adding value with complementary crops and adding a manufacturing component that will give us a range of new food and beverage products to sell. Think about the plethora of coffee roasters, microbreweries and distilleries that are popping up.

“Or there is the opportunity to tap into the growing food tourism market and embrace a ‘farm to plate’ focus that can go beyond selling your crops – anything from farm stays and guided tours to serving fresh, gourmet meals at the farm, overlooking the crops used in the dishes.

“Some of our businesses are already tapping into global consumer trends and looking at ways of exporting their products to the hungry markets and we want to see more of that.”

This month, Council is also celebrating its first full year as strategic partners with the Food and Agribusiness Network, set up to help members build capacity, connect, collaborate and grow.

My Berries Director and REDS Taskforce member, Allison McGruddy said the industry plan and industry engagement would jointly position Moreton Bay’s food and agribusiness community for success.

“Moreton Bay has a well-established and respected farming community, and the REDS focus on driving growth in the food and agribusiness sector provides many exciting opportunities ahead,” she said.

“Council’s development of a Food and Agribusiness Industry Plan is critical in supporting the growth of the Moreton Bay, helping to manage challenges such as succession planning; increasing knowledge, skills and accessibility to suitable land for value-adding; and protecting established farming land.”

To help with the REDS goals, Council says it will develop industry plans for all four key priority industries, also including advanced manufacturing; sport, tourism and major events; knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurship.

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