The National Farmers Federation has welcomed a shot in the arm for the sector’s goal to reach $100 billion in farm gate output by 2030 with the Government significantly bolstering investment in the traceability of Australian agricultural products.
NFF CEO Tony Mahar said $64.8 million to expand and streamline traceability, as announced by Agriculture Minister David Littleproud today, would deliver multi-pronged benefits to farmers.
“The more confidence our international customers have in our farm products and how they are sustainably produced, the more they will be willing to pay and the more they will buy.
“Importers increasingly want to better understand the process behind the product: the paddock to plate story and to be assured that what they are buying has been grown and produced in way that meets community expectations.
“Importantly, customers also need to know our products are free from pests, diseases and other biosecurity risks.”
The increased funding will help farmers more effectively and efficiently demonstrate their biosecurity and production credentials through the harmonisation of reporting frameworks.
“Many farmers are actually surpassing what’s required of them by importers, however they are hampered by the complexity and duplication of reporting frameworks. Often farmers are using multiple platforms to report the same information,” Mr Mahar said.
Key elements of the investment include:
- A National Agricultural Traceability Alliance between industry and all levels of government to build national leadership and a more collaborative approach to traceability.
- A National Agricultural Traceability Hub to progress data standardisation to reduce compliance and administrative burdens.
- The Agricultural Credentials Initiatives to develop: an online tool to provide information on existing and emerging credentials; a roadmap to harmonise fragmented approaches that underpin the credentials of Australian farm products; and grants to increase industry capability.
“The NFF hopes the combined effect of these initiatives will increase farmers returns; cut the time and money spent on compliance and contribute to the overall value of Australian agriculture as we close in on $100 billion,” Mr Mahar said.
The NFF is already working with the Federal Government on the development of the Australian Agricultural Sustainability Framework (AASF), to recognise farmers’ sustainability efforts.
“The objective is to ensure the positive sustainability work of Australian farmers is recognised by supply chains, markets, investors, the community and other farmers.
“Today’s announcement builds strongly on the progressive work of the AASF.
“Australian farmers produce world’s best, high-quality, clean, green food and fibre. We have a great story to tell. This new investment will help farmers better tell this story, underpinned by evidence and data,” Mr Mahar said.