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Troeth Opens Snack Fruit 99

The horticulture industry is one of the fastest growing industries of the agriculture sector. Unity in this industry is essential if Australian horticulture is to continue to prosper.

Senator Judith Troeth, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, officially opened the first ever Snack Fruit 99 Conference, in Canberra today. Over 600 delegates from the stone fruit, apple and pears and cherry industries across Australia are attending the Conference.

At the first-ever, united fruit conference, Senator Troeth said: "Considering the trade opportunities and other issues the horticulture industry must address as a whole, this conference represents a significant step in pulling the industry together".

Senator Troeth said that after recently returning from a horticulture industry tour to Singapore, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, the delegation found there are many trade opportunities for this sector but to secure these markets a united voice across the industry is essential.

Coordination at the Australian end is imperative if we are to overcome the impediments to further industry growth and supply international markets with the types of products they are demanding.

Senator Troeth said Australia is highly regarded as a supplier of clean products and our ability to supply on a counter-seasonal basis is our niche in these markets.

"We must also ensure that the products we supply are consistent, of high quality and at competitive prices and that we are committed to establishing long-term relationships once we have secured a market opening," she said.

On the domestic front, the Horticulture Industry Alliance Steering Committee (HIASC) and a Peak Industry Forum Working Group, have been exploring options that encourage a united and more efficient horticulture sector in Australia.

Senator Troeth said: "The HIASC delivered its report to me last week about the future direction of the Australian Horticultural Corporation and the Horticulture Research and Development Corporation, and the potential for these organisations to form one single entity that services both marketing and R&D for horticulture.

"52 written submissions were received, which generally reflected wide support for the establishment of a single entity and the Government will be considering the findings of this report over the coming months," she said.

Following a meeting of 73 horticulture representatives in Melbourne early this year that overwhelmingly supported the formation of a peak industry forum, an implementation group is working to establish membership, representation and funding arrangements for this forum. The findings of the group will be circulated at a meeting in November this year.

By capturing trade opportunities and establishing structures that ensure a more coordinated and professional approach to strategic management, the success of the fruit industry will continue to flourish.

"I strongly believe that the fruit industry has a bright future providing for the needs of an increasingly health conscious population both in Australia and overseas," Senator Troeth said.

Senator Troeth's address at Snack Fruit 99 is at this url: http://www.affa.gov.au/affa/pr/speeches/troeth/snackfruit.html

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