Exactly how big is Queensland horticulture?
The embarrassing answer to that question, if we're being exact, is actually we don't know.
We can of course guess at its scale, value and significance to the Queensland economy, regional communities, and the national horticulture industry. And guess we do.
Estimates put total value at farm gate at just on $3 billion each year, from about 3500 businesses who will employ in some capacity up to 25,000 workers.
But we know there are holes in these estimates based as they are on ABS surveys and censuses, and that we're too often selling ourselves, and the importance of our industry, short.
This is the problem.
A lack of knowledge undermines our ability to invest with confidence in our own businesses.
It also means our industry, and the communities in which we live and work, are at risk of not receiving the investment we need in infrastructure and other support from all levels of government. And COVID-19 has highlighted just one classic example.
When we came to calculate how short we'd be on workers, we had no way to estimate likely labour demand because we have no accurate view of past production.
Our case for greater government support for employment and migration programs will be much stronger with better data.
Our case for recovery support after a natural disaster will likewise be better if we have a clearer picture of what's grown in each region.
Which is why Growcom, together with industry partners and in collaboration with the Queensland government, is building a better picture of the state of the industry here in the Sunshine State.
The State of Horticulture in Queensland initiative is overlaying past production data from a variety of sources to increase our confidence in, and the clarity of, the picture ABS statistics currently paint.
To capture these production insights, and also to take a temperature of business confidence in the future of the industry, we are running an online survey of Queensland growers, available to be completed between now and the end of June.
We ask all growers take just 10 minutes to complete the survey. To find it and learn more about the State of Horticulture in Queensland initiative visit www.stateofhorticulture.growcom.com.au.
Be assured your information will be treated confidentially and not used for any other purpose than growing our industry.
Also know you'll be making an important contribution to ensure you, your business, and the whole sector has the infrastructure and support in place for its future prosperity.
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