Blueberry industry now bound by conduct
AUSTRALIA'S growing blueberry industry has taken the lead on addressing key land use and rapid industry growth challenges with the release of a new industry led Code of Conduct.
Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said the Code of Conduct would clearly define industry best practice to support a vital part of agriculture in NSW.
"Blueberry production is one of the largest agriculture industry in my electorate and is vital to the Northern Beaches and Clarence Valley's economy, worth around $95 million in 2015-16,” Mr Hogan said.
"The code will address concerns around spray drift, land use near residential housing and employment issues to clearly define what is acceptable or good practice.
"Every blueberry grower in Australia will receive a copy of the code to guide their day to day farm practices."
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said New South Wales industry was leading the way by creating a standard to support the growing industry nationally.
"If you had blueberries in your smoothie this morning chances are they came from New South Wales, which accounts for over 80 per cent of Aussie blueberries," Minister Littleproud said.
"The blueberry industry continues to grow as it strives to meet domestic and international demand for the tasty fruit.
"The code will help our farmers to maintain key market access through reliable clean, green on-farm practices and to efficiently supply new markets particularly in Asia.
"The Coalition is a strong supporter of the blueberry industry, delivering $5 million through the Leadership in Agricultural Industries Fund to Australian Horticulture.
"I would like to commend the Australian Blueberry Grower's Association (ABGA), New South Wales Department of Primary Industries and other related departments and local councils for their hard-work in bringing the Code to fruition."
- The blueberry industry Code of Conduct has been developed to act as the standard for blueberry growers to reference and adopt as part their own on-farm practice.
- It aims to address opportunities and challenges that the industry will face going forward.
- It takes into account a broad range of state government, local government and community views.
- Blueberry production in Coffs Harbour (Grafton Region) was worth over $200 million in 2015-16, representing 81 per cent of the NSW blueberry crop.
- Australia currently exports blueberries to over 25 countries. In 2016, exports were valued at $8.9 million. Top three markets were Hong Kong ($4.1 million), Singapore ($1.7 million) and Thailand ($0.9 million)
- The blueberry industry produced over 14,000 tonnes of fresh blueberries in 2016/17.