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Agriculture Action Plan To Include Food And Fibre

JOINT STATEMENT
Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss
National Farmers' Federation Vice President, Wayne Cornish
Australian Food and Grocery Council Executive Director, Mitchell Hooke
AFFA99/3WTJ 29 July 1999
Agriculture Action Plan Broadened To Include Food And Fibre

Closer planning links between agricultural producers and the processed food and fibre industries are to be established following a review of the Action Plan for Australian Agriculture.

Senior officials from peak rural industry and finance organisations, the processed food industry and Federal and State agricultural departments met in Brisbane yesterday to review the Plan, developed by government and industry and launched a year ago.

The new Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, also attended the meeting, which agreed to broaden the scope of the Plan to include food and fibre and to set new objectives and priorities for the next 12 months.

Mr Truss, the Vice President of the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), Wayne Cornish, and the Executive Director of the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC), Mitchell Hooke, endorsed the decision to broaden the Plan.
"The Plan will now provide a framework for a whole-of-chain planning approach to food and fibre production and processing in Australia," they said.

"This will help guarantee quality along the entire production chain and position producers and processors to meet the needs of consumers in increasingly ‘demand-driven’ international and domestic markets.

"It will also be important in achieving the Plan’s vision of outward looking, profitable, sustainable and globally competitive food and fibre businesses committed to production efficiency, product quality, application of innovation and ability to supply and respond to market needs."

The meeting also agreed to rename the plan the Action Plan for Agriculture, Food and Fibre.

Mr Truss said producers and processors needed to work together to strengthen links along the chain and to meet joint goals.

"The inclusion of food and fibre will enable the plan to address effectively a new generation of issues such as biotechnology and product safety and quality," he said.

Mr Hooke said the AFGC was committed to a cohesive, through-chain approach to the entire food industry to meet the diverse needs of consumers at home and abroad.

"Global trade in processed foods is growing at double the rate of agricultural commodities and now represents nearly 75 per cent of the world’s trade in agricultural produce. Closer ties between producers and processors will enable both to take advantage of opportunities on and offshore, realising more of the value added at home," he said.
Mr Cornish said producers were increasingly supplying directly to supermarkets and other outlets to meet specific consumer demands.

"The need for strong links and planning along the entire food chain to ensure quality in highly competitive domestic and international markets is greater than it has ever been," he said.

As well as a whole-of-chain approach, the revised Action Plan will focus on trade and tax reform, rural infrastructure, and the communication, regulatory and research aspects of the use of gene technology in food.
The Plan will be refined over the coming months and released later this year.

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