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TAS Country : February 2nd 2012
Friday, February 3, 2012 Tasmanian Country 5 Onion market hit hard STOCKPILED: John Hosken and Valentin Beckmann, sales manager of Maurer Parat, Germany, on top of the stored onions. Picture: CHRIS KIDD. EMMA HOPE Sharp decline in exports WHILE the strong Aust- ralian dollar makes most jump for joy, it is bringing tears to the eyes of Tas- manian onion farmers. Field Fresh Tasmanian's North West operation, the largest in the state, exports 90 per cent of its crop to Europe and Asia. John Hosken, Field Fresh general manager of sale and marketing, said the reason for the decline in exports was threefold. The weak euro was one reason for the dip in de- mand. The situation is worsened by the European farmers enjoying a strong season. The Netherlands is the biggest onion-growing nation and it has had a record crop. ''Germany has had a crop of plus 17 per cent on last year and the United Kingdom has grown a re- cord crop so demand is very weak for Tasmanian onions,'' Mr Hosken said. Closer to home, the New Zealand crop also was 35 per cent larger than last year's. The Australian dollar has hit record highs again- st the euro, cutting profit margins. ''I remember a couple of years ago it was 53 euro cents to the dollar. Now it is at 81c,'' Mr Hosken said. Export pressures are strained further by the loss of Tasmanian's only inter- national shipping service last year. The AAA Consortium stopped its link from Bell Bay to Singapore in April, in some cases doubling shipping costs. ''About 40 per cent of the total freighting costs go on shipping from Tasmania to Melbourne,'' Mr Hosken said. While there was less demand from the Euro- pean market, it was not a complete write-off. ''They still want the onions, but in lesser vol- umes and later in the season.'' Mr Hosken said he was left with the problem of an excess crop. ''Some may be left in the field, some will go to waste and some will go into storage to market later --- though this will come at a cost,'' he said. ''It is more about cost recovery than maximising profits.'' Onions are the second most valuable vegetable crop after potatoes in terms of contribution to the Tasmanian economy. News Solution sought to fill farm jobs Jock Laurie A MAJOR shortage of farm labour has the ru- ral sector worried, so much so that an indus- try round-table meeting has been called in Can- berra today. The National Farming Federation says there are 100,000 jobs available in agriculture and one of the big problems is that fewer young people are looking to the land for a career. ''If agriculture is going to have a long and su- stainable future, then we need to be investing in our most important re- source --- people,'' NFF president Jock Laurie said. ''There are many chal- lenges facing our human resources: our labour force is ageing, there are fewer young people en- tering our industry and drought and other com- peting industries have had a significant impact on the amount of labour available. ''The agricultural in- dustry offers enormous career diversity. Career opportunities include farmers and farm man- agers, animal nutrition- ists, plant breeders and soil scientists, agronom- ists, natural resource managers, quarantine officers, journalists, pol- icy advisers --- the list is endless.'' And there's a surplus of jobs available. ''Recent statistics show that for every agri- cultural graduate, there are 2.5 jobs available, and with the average age of farmers now at 52, the number of jobs will only increase as many people within the industry reach retirement age,'' Mr Laurie said. Fresh farm alternative FRESH: Produce at the Oast House market. From page 3 whatever reasons,'' Ms Edis said. ''We would love to encourage new pro- ducers with just a food idea and we think the market is a brilliant platform for that.'' The market would sell only food and beverages produced in Tasmania, ad- hering to the Australian Farmers Market Associ- ation Guidelines. The Launceston City Council is supporting the event and well-known local chef Daniel Alps will be providing a mentoring ser- vice to help producers who want to get involved in the market. It will be held each Saturday at the Cimitiere St car park, Launceston, from 9am until 1pm. The first market will be held on Saturday, Febru- ary 11, from 9am until noon. It is being run in con- junction with Festivale and will be officially open- ed by the ABC's Delicious Magazine's Valli Little. Details: Jenny Edis at jenny@harvestmar- ket.org.au or 0400 542 207 Farm alternative THERE is a growing opportunity to buy locally- grown fresh fruit and vegetables and a range of homemade produce each Saturday, at the farmers market at the Oast House in New Norfolk. The market has returned after its first successful year last year and offers a fresh alternative to supermarket foods. Operators of the Oast House, Chris and Kaye Bush, started the market last year and want to see it grow for the benefit of the community. ''We don't charge stall- holders anything, it's all not-for-profit,'' Mr Bush said. ''There's heaps of room here for more stall-holders. We have picked Saturdays so we don't clash with the market at Community House. ''We'd like to see anyone who grows fruit or vegies in their garden to bring along any excess to sell.'' There has been a boom in farmers' markets around Tasmania. The Hobart Farmgate farmers' market is attracting hundreds of people every Saturday, and Mr and Mrs Bush said they hoped to see the valley market become equally as established. ''We would love some more stall-holders, it can be a regular thing or a once off,'' Mr Bush said. ''We're lucky to have such a great spot here, I think people from Hobart would like to come up for a drive, get their fresh food then spend the day in the valley.'' The masterminds behind a New Norfolk- based company Devilish Delish, Martin Wanicki and Adele Hewitt, sell a range of local products, including pre-packed spices conserves pestos, jams and biscotti. They will have a regular stall at the farmers market each Saturday. ''It's great. We grow more fruit and veg than we can eat ourselves, so we are stoked to be able to sell the extra here to other members of our community,'' Mr Wanicki said. The market is every Saturday at the Oast House from 9am until 1pm. Details: Chrissy Andrew on 6261 4476. PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON CHEMICALS OF SECURITY CONCERN The Attorney-General s Department (AGD) invites the community and businesses to provide comment on four options that serve to reduce the national security risks posed by chemicals of security concern. Public consultation is an important part of the Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) process, which serves to analyse the costs and bene ts of policy options being considered by government. Feedback is required on the likely effectiveness of the four options, including speci c comment on the estimated costs and uptake of each option. The options discussed in the RIS cover the following chemicals: • ydrogen pero ide ( ) • Ammonium perchlorate ( l ) • Sodium chlorate ( a l ) • Sodium nitrate ( a ) • itric acid ( ) • Potassium nitrate (K ) • Potassium chlorate (K l ) • itromethane ( ) • Sodium perchlorate ( a l ) • Sodium a ide ( a ) • Potassium perchlorate (K l ) Businesses that import, distribute, transport, manufacture, handle or use these chemicals -- or products containing these chemicals -- are encouraged to provide feedback. The public consultation is open from F F b u F M h 2 12. The RIS and information on how to take part in the public consultation is available at www. h m ls u .g . u/RIS For further information you can also contact AGD on ( 2) 6141 2925 or ( 2) 6141 12. AG569 0
January 26th 2012
February 9th 2012