The Bundaberg Region is said to be the food bowl of Australia but new data reveals we have capacity to feed the world.
Mayor Jack Dempsey said research undertaken by Council’s Economic Development team revealed the Wide Bay region was responsible for a significant portion of Queensland’s multi-billion dollar agricultural industry.
“Almost 100 per cent of the state’s mandarins, nuts other than macadamias and oranges are produced right here,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“This is followed by a long list of produce including 76 per cent of macadamias, 39 per cent of avocados, 44 per cent of other citrus fruit and 46 per cent of all other fruit.
“Some of the other items between 30 and 40 per cent might surprise even the most dedicated of local shoppers, such as Brussels sprouts.”
The figures were collated from the Australian Bureau of Statistics in a report revealing the value of agricultural commodities for the Wide Bay Burnett.
BFVG shares impressive farm stats
Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers managing director Bree Grima said while it was difficult to narrow it down to Bundaberg specific figures there was no doubt we're the major player.
“Bundaberg is home to the largest chilli company in Australia and the largest individual chilli supplier in South-East Asia and Australasia combined which at times supplies 90 per cent of Australia's fresh chilli due to new plantings every two weeks,” Ms Grima said.
“Queensland contributes over 70 per cent of the national production [of sweet potatoes] with the majority of that coming from the Bundaberg Region.
“The sweet potato industry is a significant regional employer as there is year-round production with different varieties.”
She said more than 60 per cent of Australia's passionfruit was grown in Queensland with Bundaberg being the largest growing region by size in a number of areas.
“Bundaberg is the largest macadamia growing region in Australia, contributing over 50 per cent of annual production,” Ms Grima said.
“The farm sizes in the Bundaberg area are much larger than other growing regions.
“For example, less than 60 growers in the region produce just as much macadamia nut as 450 growers in the Northern Rivers area.”
Ms Grima said the Bundaberg Region was part of the Central Queensland production area which boasts more than 2400 hectares under avocado trees.
“This is the single largest growing region in Australia by area with 65 per cent of that area containing trees that are six years or older and producing fruit.”
Mayor says data proves Bundaberg can feed world
Mayor Dempsey said the statistics further underlined the important role the region plays in the state’s economy and its growing potential.
“This data reveals what we already knew – as a region we punch above our weight when it comes to agricultural production,” he said.
“While this is a phenomenal achievement we know that we have the area and the good quality farming land to expand significantly.
“This is proof we are the perfect place to diversify into food processing and higher value-add products.
“We don’t just have the capacity to feed Australia – we also have the capacity to feed Asia.”
He said through targeted investment in the region’s infrastructure, production volumes could be doubled or tripled.
“This data, which sheds new light on the strengths of our region, builds an exciting case to assist our farmers and producers to further expand,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“This provides us with a springboard to investigate upgrading the Bundaberg Airport so that we could export our fresh fruit, vegetables and other new products from our region directly to Asia.
“The proposed agricultural precinct, being led by CQUniversity and supported by Council, promises to use technology to improve agricultural techniques at a farming level, creating efficiencies and increasing crop yields.
“I’d love to see all levels of government and the industry working together to plan for the exciting opportunities ahead of us.”