DRIVING FORCE: Avocados and tomatoes have helped drive agriculture's growth in Queensland.
DRIVING FORCE: Avocados and tomatoes have helped drive agriculture's growth in Queensland. Tobi Loftus

Taste for avos helps lift state growth

AS THE representative body for production horticulture, Growcom is thrilled tomatoes and avocados have been identified as key drivers of agriculture sector growth in Queensland.

The Queensland Government's newly released Queensland AgTrends report 2017-18 shows some promising trends for horticulture. Avocados are forecast to be $240 million, 44 per cent greater than the average for the past five years. Tomato GVP is forecast at $298 million, 10 per cent higher than the previous five-year average despite impacts from Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

Our Chief Advocate Rachel Mackenzie took the opportunity to meet with Agriculture Industry Development Minister Mark Furner, as well as his colleague Joe Kelly MP, who formerly chaired Queensland's agriculture and environment committee, to discuss the trends.

Ms Mackenzie highlighted the importance of the horticulture sector to the Queensland economy and highlighted the diversity and quality of product grown in Queensland.

We all know smashed avocado has become the "hipster” breakfast of choice. Our growers are, naturally, pleased that consumers are embracing avocados and want everyone to keep eating them, as well as our other amazing fresh produce. We should also be really happy about the results for the tomato industry because, as we remember, Tropical Cyclone Debbie had a devastating impact on the industry. We applaud our growers for the resilience they have shown by getting commodities back in the paddock, keeping their heads up and making sure all of us in Queensland can continue to enjoy fresh fruit and veg. In discussing AgTrends with the Minister and Mr Kelly, it was positive to hear the line, "when agriculture goes well, Queensland goes well” from our politicians.

We entered 2018 with new state and federal agriculture ministers - Minister Furner at a state level, and David Littleproud at a federal level. We were pleased to see Mr Furner drawing attention to and celebrating a horticulture success story in the form of the AgTrends report.

We look forward to working with all levels and sides of politics to achieve great things for horticulture in the year ahead.