Eat your veggies – Push to put more vegies on our plates

FARMERS are calling for a new campaign to get Australians to eat more vegetables.

AusVeg has made the campaign one of its core priorities for the looming federal election as a practical way to help the sector grow.

AusVeg chair Bill Bulmer says that vegetables take up half the plate at most Australian dinners but the growers were often forgotten.

Mr Bulmer was a guest at Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association Vegetable Council grower forum at Deloraine this week.

Mr Bulmer and AusVeg CEO Michael Coote said their priorities were set around three central themes: driving increased consumption, developing more efficient businesses, becoming a more resilient industry.

“Data from the Fruit and Vegetable Consortium indicates that vegetable consumption is too low and declining over time,” Mr Bulmer said.
“An increase of just half a serve of vegies per day by Australian adults would increase returns to the industry by about $630 million a year.”

AusVeg also wants to increase trade internationally with Asia.

David Addison of the Tasmanian Fruit and Vegetable Facilitation Group said it was a good day.

“It gave an opportunity to advance connection between industry organisations and growers,” Mr Addison said.

TFGA vegetable grower committees, which represent growers throughout contract negotiations, provided updates regarding their recent activities and their expectations for the upcoming negotiation periods.

Vegetable council chairman Nathan Richardson said such a forum was good for connecting with other growers and TFGA members and staff.

“It is also an opportunity to raise issues and concerns, for example the skyrocketing input costs, cost of land, the burden of red tape compliance and to talk about training and education,” Mr Richardson said.

“Having access to Michael and Bill at the forum is a coup for the Tasmanian industry and demonstrates that our industry is highly regarded from a national perspective,” TFGA policy advisor Bonnie Kenner said.
“The TFGA has a strong working relationship with AusVeg which ensures that our members voices are being heard not only at a state level but also nationally.”

AusVeg is calling on the Federal Government to fund research and development and/or look at implementing programs relating to workforce, regenerative farming, biosecurity, emergency preparation and prevention, competition and business, international trade, and infrastructure.