Tasmanian irrigation CEO looks to organic production

Chris Oldfield, the Tasmanian Irrigation CEO is looking towards organic production for new enterprise development opportunities in the state.

Oldfield says organics represent a prime opportunity due to the state’s clean and green reputation, coupled with attractive growth rates in the sector which are currently sitting at 15 percent nationally each year, ABC rural reports.

Tasmanian Irrigation aims to attract investors to establish new enterprises that utilise Tasmania’s expanding irrigation infrastructure and Oldfield believes that the organics industry is “worth a serious look.”

Oldfield says that while he does not have an official position on organics, or genetically modified foods for that matter, he believes organics could be a valuable opportunity for the state.

"It's not a matter of whether we believe in organics or not," he said.

"There appears to be a significant market opportunity that I don't believe is being met by Australian growers.

"What I'm wondering is whether this is an area Tasmania should be looking at.

"Maybe it's not right for Tasmania, but I think it's worth a serious look."

Oldfield’s comments come as debate over Tasmania’s GMO-free moratorium heats up. The moratorium – which bans GM foods- is currently under review as it is due to expire in November this year.

The review is covering issues relating to the potential advantages and disadvantages of GMO technology across Tasmania’s primary industry sectors – including both food and non-food sectors.

The Tasmanian Food Industry Advisory Council, of which Oldfield is a member, has been asked to provide advice during the review.  Oldfield says that the council represents a wide range of interests throughout the agrifood supply chain.

"I think it's fair to say there is a very wide divergence of opinion amongst most key industry players on the current moratorium on GMs in Tasmania,” said Oldfield.

"We've taken the position that really we'll be observers in the debate but this is really a matter of government policy.”


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