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Citrus industry must remain internationally competitive.



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Media Release

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

JUDITH TROETH

 

AFFA98/14T

2 December 1998

 

CITRUS INDUSTRY MUST REMAIN INTERNATIONALLY COMPETITIVE

 

Australia’s citrus industry must ensure it remains internati onally competitive if it is to enter the next century a vibrant and prosperous industry, Senator Judith Troeth, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry said today.

 

Speaking at the Berri Summit in Canberra, Senator Troeth said the best way for the industry to achieve this was to be as responsive as possible to market changes.

 

“It is imperative that the industry is market driven rather than production driven. The citrus industry needs to carefully assess what the market wants, what the customer is prepared to pay, its capacity to produce the product and then make decisions that maximise its long-term returns.”

 

Senator Troeth said that parts of the industry have experienced tough times in recent years, particularly as a result of very low prices for frozen concentrated orange juice and increasing competition from countries such as Brazil.

 

“The Government’s five-year, $8.4 million Citrus Market Diversification Program (CMDP) was helping to counter these problems and make the industry more competitive both domestically and internationally.

 

“The CMDP covers four broad areas, promotion and advertising, finding new markets and maintaining existing ones, encouraging improved industry practices and an on-going commitment to research and development.

 

Senator Troeth said that the Program has allowed Australian industry to focus on the areas where it could gain a comparative advantage over its international competitors. It has also helped the industry to focus on its strengths and weaknesses and better identify its threats and opportunities.

 

“While the Program is due to conclude on 30 June 1999, the challenge for the industry is to learn from the knowledge and experience it has provided and build a more prosperous and sustainable future for Australian citrus.”

 

Senator Troeth said the citrus industry will also continue to benefit from assistance under the Government’s Action Plan for Agriculture programs, such as the Rural Partnership Program and the Farm Business Improvement Program.

 

 

Further inquiries: Alex Staples (02) 6277 3002 or 0417 449 921

 

 

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