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New rural industries show their worth.



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DAFF05/064C - 17 November 2005

New rural industries show their worth

Emerging rural industries contribute more than $673 million to the national economy, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Senator Richard Colbeck said last night.

Senator Colbeck was launching Emerging Animal and Plant Industries - their value to Australia, a new book from Rural Industries and Research Development Corporation (RIRDC). Data on 27 emerging, Australian rural industries - from coffee and crocodiles to sesame seeds and exotic spices - has been collated and published as part of an ongoing study.

"This important research has shown that these emerging industries accounted for 2.2 per cent of the total value of Australian farm production in 2003-04," Senator Colbeck said. "They earned export revenue of $431 million or 1.6 per cent of total farm export revenue in 2003-04.

"These figures are set to grow because, as the term emerging suggests, there are strong prospects in many of the profiled industries. The figures give proof that they are not just hobby industries, but sectors of agriculture with the potential to become mainstream."

The new report targets industry and government interests in improving productivity, trade and research, and developing new animal and plant commodity lines for Australian producers - the book features a national and international perspective on these industries.

"A lack of solid information about emerging industries can slow their development," Senator Colbeck said. "Bankers and potential investors require reliable statistics, and only when that information is provided can effective policies for emerging agricultural industries be created.

"It also promotes the potential of these industries to farmers looking for sustainable alternatives and points to opportunities for import replacement."

The report is divided into sections on 14 emerging plant and 13 emerging animal industries. Each emerging industry report also provides industry association and marketing contacts and websites for further information. According to RIRDC Managing Director Peter O'Brien, the project reflects the diverse nature of the RIRDC's research and development investments.

"One of the most important aspects of our work is promoting diversity in the Australian rural sector. Diversity gives Australian farmers economic and environmental resilience, and emerging industries, like those in this book, provide farmers with new markets in niche and specialty foods," Dr O'Brien said.

Emerging Animal and Plant Industries - their value to Australia is available for $36 (inc. postage and handling) from www.rirdc.gov.au or by contacting (02) 6272 4819.

High resolution photos available: www.rirdc.gov.au/pub/media_releases

Further media inquiries:

Senator Colbeck's office: Aaron Oldaker 03 6424 5960 or 0408 826 330 RIRDC: Martin Field 02 6272 4735 or 0418 430 760