The region’s temperate climate, productive soils, agricultural diversity and close proximity to major markets make it an ideal region for agricultural production. RDA Southern Inland recognises the importance of retaining the region’s productive agricultural land and the RDA work in this area will be guided by joint principles of productivity and sustainability, in its truest sense.
Opportunities exist to expand on the scale and diversity of local food production in and adjacent to existing major production locations such as the Hilltops region (Young, Boorowa and Harden), the Southern Highlands, Southern Tablelands around Bungendore, Braidwood and Araluen, and the Snowy Valley. A focus of RDA work will be to encourage productive land is preserved for food production and not swept up in residential or commercial development.
RDA Southern Inland will work with the regional food sector, Local, NSW (Local land Services) and Commonwealth Government agencies as relevant to attract support for the development of a thriving agricultural/regional food industry that will provide new employment opportunities, underpin the regional economies and significantly contribute to the sustainability of the region. The success to date of the RDA Southern Inland initiated Southern Harvest Association shows there are commercial benefits for people producing, value adding/processing and selling the diverse range of produce in the region. The RDA’s work will focus on opening up people’s capacity through programs to develop their business models and business management capacity; support their operations through promoting the need for small scale infrastructure such as small animal abattoirs/processing facilities and open the way for them to access customers through the establishment of more physical markets (farmers markets, main street provedores) and on-line markets such as the Southern NSW Harvest Digital Trading Platform.
Regional Food Priority Projects and Resources
Southern Harvest Association
The Southern Harvest Association is well established and recently launched two significant initiatives – an online mapping interface and digital trading platform. RDA Southern Inland will utilise this strong foundation to continue to provide on-going support for the regional food producers, value adders and distributors to grow across the region and roll out more innovations.
Australian Capital Region Food Hub
RDA Southern Inland is leading the development of the Australian Capital Region Food Hub. This is an undertaking of a groups of like-minded community organisations, businesses and individuals that have come together with the aim to build more resilient local food economies within our region. On 11 June 2014, RDA Southern Inland hosted the first Australian Capital Region Food Hub Information Session. The interest generated by the event was overwhelming. There's plently happening.
The National Food Plan is a roadmap for the future of Australia’s food industry.
Australia’s food industry stands at a gateway to new opportunities. To take advantage of these, the National Food Plan sets out a framework that will guide the food industry, the community and governments for years to come.
Fifteen percent of the Australian workforce is involved in food production, we export $30.5 billion annually and produce enough to feed the country twice over. Food creation is the biggest employer in rural and regional communities.
The National Food Plan sets out key goals to grow our domestic industry and increase the value of our food exports.
Australia’s agricultural sector is at a crossroads. Global population growth and increasing affluence in our neighbouring trading partners will present unprecedented opportunities for growth, but agriculture is also facing unprecedented pressures through climate change and climate variability, access to finance, and social and workforce issues.
Australia’s Agricultural Future, written by the Australin Council of Learned Academies identifies these opportunities and barriers for the agricultural sector in the context of complex social and political issues around rural and regional Australia,
The focus of the report is on emerging issues that may impact on the capability of Australia’s agricultural industries to respond to future increases in global demand, particularly in Asia.
Australian Food Soverignty Alliance
The Australian Food Soverignty Alliance is a collaboration of organisations and individuals working together towards a food system in which people have the opportunity to choose, create and manage their food supply from paddock to plate.
The Alliance has produced a 'People's Food Plan' in response to the Commonwealth Government's National Food Plan.
Global Food Security Index
The Global Food Security Index considers the core issues of affordability, availability, and quality across a set of 107 countries. The index is a dynamic quantitative and qualitative scoring model, constructed from 27 unique indicators, that measures these drivers of food security across both developing and developed countries. For more information about the Global Food Security Index, visit www.foodsecurityindex.eiu.com.
Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - www.daff.gov.au
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) ensure Australia's food regulations protect public health and safety. The Department encourages industry and community to participate in developing food regulatory policy and food standards.
Food Chain Resillience - Through the Food Chain Resilience project within the Agricultural Productivity Division, DAFF is involved in the development of two initiatives designed to ensure Australia's preparedness for significant national emergencies that could potentially interfere with the safety, security or continuity of our food supply.
FarmDiversity - A free and easy to use online tool to help farmers investigate almost 100 options for diversifying their enterprise. After simply entering their postcode, farmers see a ‘shortlist’ of industries that may be viable in their area. More specific search information, such as rainfall, soil type and climate zone can be used to refine the search. Farmers can also search for a particular plant or animal that may be of interest.
NSW Food Authority - The NSW Food Authority is the government organisation that helps ensure food in NSW is safe and correctly labelled.