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TAS Country : August 12th 2010
32 Tasmanian Country Friday, August 13, 2010 Opinion Time for import scorecard ON THE CARDS: DPIPWE's Senior Industry Development Officer Hugh Griffiths with the Tasmanian food and beveridge production scorecard. Picture: SAM ROSEWARNE CHEWS theFAT David Byard If I had my way, everything coming in would be recorded on a weekly manifest at a central point so that all of this information could be tabulated and a scorecard kept.' TASMANIA'S food and beverage scorecard for 2007-2008 has just been launched. Hugh Griffiths is the person who crunches all the figures and collates all the material, and gets it out there. Hugh is passionate about his job and he sometimes reminds me of a broody chook bringing all his clutch together. When you talk to him he is focused and takes great pride in getting details together and takes great satisfaction in getting his scorecard out. Sometimes I wonder if people realise how valuable hard data like the scorecard is when people are making policies. It appears in 2007-2008 there was a record year of food production in Tasmania. This was mainly driven by high milk prices, vegetable production was high due to improved yields and better prices for things like lamb, cherries, apricots and wine were also up.Farm gate prices increased by $169 million and there was a further in- crease of $15 million in 2008-2009. Hugh was very pleased with this seeing that the Australian dollar was up and the drought had struck. In processed food, beer production in 2008 rose by $74 million. Over the last five years there has been no substantial increase in over- seas exports. All the increased value of production is going to interstate. This seems to be especially important for things like salmon, beer and potatoes. Tasmania's total food exports were $1981 million --- 74 per cent of what Tasmania produces is shipped inter- state and overseas, 26 per cent is consumed locally. The food industry is very diversified with 80 categories from stone fruit, vegies, dairy and so on. Hugh's scorecard actually looks at each of these categories. He goes on to tell me about how he gets a handle on all the details. It seems that one of his main problem is the major processors have their headquarters interstate and this makes things a little bit difficult. However, in usual Hugh fashion, he seems to form a bond with the local people. Some of the calculations that he makes are quite interesting and he goes on to talk about how he calculate cheese and how he knows we each eat 13kg of cheese per year and with a population of 500,000 people we should be eating 6200 tonnes of cheese. Tasmania's consumption of food has gone up by 7.4 per cent per year. This probably is the result of increased population, some 20,000 people over a five-year period, and with strong tour- ism this also helps. After going through his scorecard I found it a little bit disappointing it was all on exports. It appears that nobody keeps any tabs on food imports. People may say who would bear the cost of such records? If I had my way, everything coming in would be re- corded on a weekly manifest at a central point so that all of this infor- mation could be tabulated and a scorecard kept. Every importer would have to pay a small fee for this service. This would help when analysing what we import and what we export. With the case of meat I can see no reason to import meat into this state, however if people knew that they were eating interstate then that would be their choice. I have felt for a long time that people running the Department of Economic Development may have their priorities wrong. Are they focusing on overseas exports, should they be focusing on local and interstate trade? As an example, in 2007-2008 Australia ex- ported 65 per cent of its meat pro- duction, the value of exports was $4.4 billion while the value of the domestic market was $6.7 billion. How often do we see bureaucrats and politicians going overseas to foster trade. I have never seen a scorecard to mark their chance of success or how many times they have succeeded and at what cost. To me one thing is important: traceability of all imported products which would not be hard to achieve. Hugh made the point that although the production of agricultural and seafood production had increased by some $730 million over the last 10 years, and that increase was well above the rate of inflation, this did not reflect on the profitability of farming and fishing. We are all aware that prices received have not kept pace with inflation, so businesses are challenged by declining margins. The scorecard is about measuring the value of food pro- duction, quantifying value creation along the chain and getting a better understanding of our markets. The time has come to expand the scorecard and include imports. For our rural industry to prosper with Aust- ralian ownership, the more infor- mation we have the better. Your new look Tasmanian Country offers unprecedented opportunities for display advertisements, features and advertorials. For advertising and enquiries contact: Kerri Walsh p: 6230 0640 f: 6230 0766 e: email@example.com Tracey Wright p: 6230 0752 f: 6230 0766 e: firstname.lastname@example.org Get Tasmanian Country to promote your product, property and equipment with a supported editorial feature, contact: Dallas Aldridge p: 6230 0544 f: 6230 0711 e: email@example.com a NEW LO OKfor an OLD MATE ! Round up some new business with just one phone call.
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