The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment supports the Australian horticulture industry to maintain their continued growth and development. This involves liaison with growers, industry representatives, organizations, and other government agencies. The department works with industry and other government agencies to improve market access and trade conditions for Australian exporters and to manage biosecurity threats. The department monitors the delivery of horticultural research, development, and extension by Hort Innovation, which is accountable to the Australian Parliament through the Minister for Agriculture. The department works with Hort Innovation to ensure that it meets performance standards. The department also monitors the Horticulture Code of Conduct which exists to provide clarity and transparency of transactions between growers and wholesalers of fresh fruit and vegetables.
"Australia's horticulture industry comprises fruit, vegetables, nuts, flowers, turf, and nursery products. The industry operates in a highly competitive domestic and international market, is labor intensive and mostly seasonal," explains a DAWE Departmental spokesperson.
"Australia's horticulture industry has long enjoyed a domestic and international reputation as a sustainable producer of premium safe food—primarily due to our high standards across all stages of the supply chain, from farm to consumer. It comprises mainly small-scale family farms—however, there is a growing trend towards medium to larger scale operations. Australian farmers continue to adjust their operations and adopt new technologies to respond to the opportunities and challenges of agricultural production in Australia, including the ongoing effects of COVID-19 and access to seasonal workers, rising input costs, increased competition from imported fresh and processed produce, market price pressures, challenging or adverse seasonal conditions."
Additionally, the Australian Government is providing $60.9 million to horticulture growers to install netting that will build on-farm resilience against extreme weather impacts, limit pest predation, limit crop losses and increase water savings from evaporation.
"Hort Connections is Australia and New Zealand's largest horticulture conference and trade show. It provides the department with an opportunity to connect with growers, industry representative organizations, and participants through the horticulture supply chain. It is an opportunity to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the sector and observe first-hand new innovations and technologies."
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