Townsville Enterprise, the North Queensland Organisation of Regional Councils (NQROC) and the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) are pleased to announce the findings of the North Queensland Agricultural Market and Supply Chain Study.
The 12-month market-led initiative is the first of its type in Australia and was project managed by Townsville Enterprise, who commissioned a consortium of businesses to undertake the research including Premise, AEC, and KPMG. The objective of the Study was to investigate how North Queensland is currently positioned to supply and export internationally to ensure local producers are well informed to maximise production opportunities and meet future international agricultural demand.
Townsville Enterprise, Burdekin Shire Council, Hinchinbrook Shire Council, Townsville City Council, Charters Towers Regional Council, Palm Island Shire Council and industry partners had identified the need for collective action, working to define how Queensland’s agricultural sector can best position itself and take advantage of Asia’s emerging middle class phenomenon.
The study has produced a holistic ‘developmental roadmap’ that seeks to define the key products, target markets and critical enablers that will support the region’s response to growing export market demand.
Instead of taking a producer approach, we’re taking a market led approach, and proactively responding to consumer demand and how our region’s primary producers can meet the market.
Avocados and macadamias, for example, are just some of the products that we haven’t had capacity to grow in the past, but the purpose of this study was to determine where are we today and where we are going tomorrow.
The study found that there is $3 billion in unmet global market demand across ten of Australia’s leading agricultural export destinations and identified five priority Australian products: beef, avocado, macadamia, on-shore aquaculture and soybean. In addition to this, the study also identified unmet demand in many other categories that are relevant to North Queensland.
Transitioning land use and strategic efforts to embrace the five priority products was estimated to result in a positive NPV of up to $271.1 million and generating approximately 2,000+ new jobs within the region.
Building value in the region’s constrained supply chains was also identified as critical to ensuring the region can meet anticipated global food demand. These specifically include:
- Transitioning the beef industry to a higher value-add sector
- Utilising existing sugarcane land and fallow cropping systems
- Developing a new farm systems group to drive research development
- Intensifying the production of fresh food supported by improved cold chain logistics
- Leveraging Port of Townsville and Townsville Airport as key hubs for driving export growth
The study’s findings will help inform other key projects important to the region’s future, such as the Hells Gates Dam Project, as well as supporting the development of our regions, including the rich growing areas of the Burdekin and Hinchinbrook, and new growth areas such as Palm Island.
Next steps identified in the Study for all parties supportive of the developmental roadmap include establishing co-ops, working with organisations such as Austrade on policy positions, infrastructure investment, and industry coordination on a state-wide mapping process.
By identifying five key products in 10 markets, this study now places the North Queensland agricultural industry, peak bodies and government in an informed position to determine priority investment and industry enablers supportive of North Queensland’s agricultural sector’s long-term sustainability.