Fresh Food Precinct could turbocharge farm exports

Fresh Food Precinct could turbocharge farm exports


Farm Online News
Fiona Simson.

Fiona Simson.

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A new Fresh Food Precinct proposed for development at the new Western Sydney Airport (WSA) needs political commitment.

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Sydney rock oysters on plates in Hong Kong and Young cherries on Tokyo supermarket shelves in less than 48 hours after harvest.

Farmers transacting with their international export customers using Blockchain and food security and provenance assured by the application of digital certification.

Sound fanciful?

It could be a reality if a new Fresh Food Precinct proposed for development at the new Western Sydney Airport (WSA) gets the political commitment it deserves.

It’s not often farmers call for investment in more city infrastructure, but in this case the benefits on offer are too good not to support.

A ‘Green Paper’ released today by the NSW Farmers Association and KPMG, outlines a visionary and fiscally-sound proposal for the development of such a Precinct.

From an urban perspective, modelling provided by the Green Paper estimates the precinct would create12,000 ongoing jobs in the Greater Sydney employment area and provide high quality fresh produce to the ease the ‘food desert’ issue in Sydney’s western suburbs.

For farmers, the precinct represents a step towards realising our sector’s growing potential.

Global demand for Australia’s high quality safe produce is unprecedented.

Driven by the rising affluence of the Asian middle class and an increased focus on food provenance, our international markets have a growing hunger for Australian food and we need to feed it!

The Think Big Think Fresh: A Fresh Food Precinct Green Paper makes the case for the reservation of 500 hectares adjacent to the WSA to be the site of the technology integrated Fresh Food precinct.

The carefully designed precinct would feature high value food production and processing systems including dedicated cold storage facilities.

These systems would cater for high-value produce such as horticulture, poultry, seafood and red meat. Importantly, state-of-the-art customs, biosecurity and traceability processes would allow for produce to quickly clear customs and provide customers with the peace of mind they require.

As an export-dependent sector, more efficient and more innovative supply chains are key to the continued growth of Australia’s $60 billion agriculture industry.

The ability to get produce from paddock to market in less than 48 hours purports to position Australia as ‘the delicatessen of Asia’ providing high-value end-consumer products rather than just a provider of bulk commodities.

But for the Precinct to become a reality elected officials across all levels of government need to commit to its development.

To this end, the National Farmers’ Federation with our members the NSW Farmers Association are calling on the NSW and federal governments to set aside an appropriate amount of land (approximately 500 hectares) in close proximity to the WSA and as a first step, to fund an investor ready prospectus for the precinct.

The WSA Fresh Food Precinct has wide-ranging benefits for urban and regional communities and businesses. It is not often such projects come along.

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