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Squeezing more value out of Aussie fruit and veges

Published:29 January 2014

Professor Philip Brown

The Australian horticultural industry is not getting full potential value out of its products but a new project aims to take a fresh look at the whole ‘value chain’ from soil to supermarket.

The $483,000 project is backed by the Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL) Transformational Research Fund and will be led by CQUniversity.

Project spokesperson Professor Philip Brown says the potential value of some crops is not being maximised. Meantime, a significant ‘non-premium’ proportion of many crops never reaches the retail market and other crops produce under-utilised by-products.

The Bundaberg-based researcher says project members are keen to take advantage of innovative technologies, products or processes by creating new ‘value chain’ links.

“This project aims to enable specialty and, potentially, premium products that are differentiated via technology and product qualities, building on advantages in the production base and extending this throughout processing and through to marketing and brand positioning along the value chain,” Prof Brown says.

“Using flexible technology scaled for specialty products, there is potential for on-farm processing in some cases.

“Projects focused solely on technology or product development, without adequate attention to market assessment and value chain development, have failed or had minimal impact on the horticultural industry.

“However, drawing on collaboration and integration throughout the value chain, there is potential for highly significant transformative industry impact.”

This project will be undertaken in collaboration with the Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research and the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

In related news, CQUniversity is offering the new Bachelor of Agribusiness and Food Security, with details via http://bit.ly/1ehmT9Z .

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(Click on image thumbnail to see full-size image) Professor Philip Brown