Victorian Minister for Agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas has announced $11.7 million will be invested to modernise agriculture traceability systems, supporting jobs in the sector and demand for quality food and fibre.
The investment reinforces Victoria’s world-class agriculture sector and will protect the long-term security of farmers by bolstering response systems in the event of biosecurity threats.
“Our farmers are rightfully renowned for their produce. With this investment, we’ll back that reputation and the jobs that rely on it,” Thomas said.
Currently at Ellinbank SmartFarm in Gippsland, sensors are used to provide traceable data on each dairy cow’s welfare, as well as the quality of the milk produced and its origin. This is an example of one of many traceability systems which allow the customer to see the “paddock to plate” journey through all stages of production, processing and distribution.
Another example is Mildura oranges – the Victorian government supported a citrus industry traceability pilot where unique codes on stickers were applied to the oranges. Once scanned along the global supply chain, the codes confirm where they were grown.
The new investment will build on similar projects with digitalised and interoperable systems, which will enable increased growth of export reach.
“This work will further move our agricultural traceability systems towards modern, digitalised systems – meaning more of Victoria’s food and fibre on the world stage,” Thomas said.
In the year up to November 2020, around 197,000 people were employed in the state’s food and fibre production and manufacturing sectors, with 89,000 in production and 108,000 in manufacturing.
These improved traceability systems are an emerging capability in the food supply chain that provides assurances to trading partners and consumers about how and where their food is produced.
The investment will focus on research and pilot projects throughout Victoria, highlighting the state’s 10-year Agriculture Strategy, which aims to promote and build confidence in the sector for domestic and international markets.