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Thursday, 12 February 2015 10:37

Great South Coast rallies behind its food and fibre industry

The Great South Coast region is rallying to make the most of global food opportunities with a new plan for industry-wide action.

The Great South Coast Food and Fibre Action Plan will bring together all commodities along the length of the food supply chain, encouraging a new approach to global marketing.

Great South Coast Group Chair Cr Colin Ryan said the Food and Fibre Action Plan recognised the importance of food and fibre to the local economy.

"We know that as much as 60 per cent of our regional economy is in some way dependent upon agriculture, so it's our most important industry" Cr Ryan said.

"But it is also an industry comprised of literally thousands of very small businesses across a number of sectors."

Cr Ryan said the Food and Fibre Action Plan aimed to bring those sectors together to work out how best to supply this region's "clean and green" product to Asia.

"We recognised that without the benefit of long range planning and preparation, the growing Asian market could just end up being a lot of talk," he said.

"Our intention is to develop a plan for action – a plan that shows our industry a way to work together to make the most of these opportunities."

Cr Ryan said farmers and food producers in the Great South Coast were facing strong competition from other Victorian regions, some of which were already lobbying government for help to leverage the Asian dining boom.

"It's important for our region to be understand what we have to offer and to be able to speak with clear, local voice."

Cr Ryan said consultants McKinna et al in partnership with Deloitte Access Economics had been appointed to develop the Food and Fibre Action Plan, with funds from Regional Development Victoria, the Great South Group and its six member Councils.

McKinna, a "quiet achiever" behind some of Australia's best known food and fibre export and market development strategies, had already started work.

Cr Ryan said the consultants' first task would be to connect with industry.

This would include a series of industry workshops, interviews and one-on-one meetings, most of which would be conducted during March.

"It's critical that this is a plan for industry," Cr Ryan said.

"We have been fortunate in that we have a large group of producers and leaders from the beef, wine, wool, dairy and aquaculture industries who are willing to work with us, but we need to make sure we connect with the entire food and fibre industry in this region."

The Great South Coast Food and Fibre Action Plan is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.

 


 

Media information:

Great South Coast Executive Officer, Karen Foster, 0407 312 836


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