Voice of Horticulture resourcing for future growth  

22 September 2015

The Voice of Horticulture (VoH), the recently established industry lobby group, has recruited an experienced agribusiness executive to ensure that horticulture industry issues are well understood by state and federal government organisations.

Peter Hansford, a former trade commissioner and agribusiness industry development executive, has joined VoH to provide strategy and communication services.

Tania Chapman, chair of the VoH and Citrus Australia is delighted with the appointment. “After nine months of establishment work we now have an experienced person to ensure that issues are managed and represented correctly” she said.

According to Ms. Chapman “Peter has experience in government, in corporate agribusiness, in Asia and across regional Australia. He brings a real passion and professionalism to his work.”

Mr. Hansford believes that “the fundamentals of the Australian horticulture industry have never been stronger. Free trade agreements with Japan, Korea and China are bringing confidence to the sector, especially for edible products, and native plants and nursery products will continue strong domestic growth” he said. Mr Hansford maintains that “Australia should become a horticulture export powerhouse over the next decade as Asian consumers come to value safe, quality food from environmentally responsible production systems.”

Exports of horticulture products can grow by 500% over the next 10 years. “Gearing up for increased exports is both exciting and challenging” he said. “Critical to future success is the ability of the sector to maintain market access and biosecurity controls and attract a quality work force.”

Ms. Chapman pointed out that “The horticulture industry is the largest agriculture industry employer but it is also very reliant on seasonal workers, including both backpackers and those on temporary work visas.  The industry is currently worth about $10 billion at farm gate and so it needs to be well represented if the opportunities are to be captured and challenges overcome.”

Mr. Hansford, who grew up in the Goulburn Valley, has a longstanding commitment to the sustainable development of regional Australia having worked in clean technology and education as well as agribusiness.

“I have a keen understanding of how hard growers work and how susceptible they are to the vagaries of the climate and the market. “ It’s great to be able to make a contribution to an industry that really has a go” he said.

 

Media contacts

Tania Chapman
Chair, Voice of Horticulture
0428 291 717
chair@voiceofhorticulture.org.au

John Dollisson
Director, Voice of Horticulture
0413 111 123
director@voiceofhorticulture.org.au

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