The South-east Victorian region of Gippsland is home to some of Australia's most arable and fertile soils, and its high levels of food and fibre production make it the biggest contributor to Gross Regional Production in the state. Currently, dairy is the most established industry in Gippsland, however there has recently been rapid growth in the production of high-value horticultural commodities such as olives, garlic, saffron and truffles.
These emerging industries have potential to boost regional economic development by $210m / 480 jobs per annum by 2023 - a goal set by the Gippsland Regional Partnership (GRP) at their 2018 Regional Assembly - however many face unclear or uncertain paths to expansion due to poor data availability.
Agribusiness Gippsland and RMIT University are leading a strategic project to provide baseline data of food value chains across agriculture sectors in this region. These are supply chains that include various value-adding steps during different stages of production and distribution.
Without a comprehensive understanding of the food value chain, decision-making is impaired. Connectivity and accessibility of data is core to meeting the annual productivity growth and employment targets, however these are currently unexamined as a regional food value chain. The team will recommend where initiatives are required for stakeholder groups to increase digital engagement and further inform regional development investment strategies.
Innovation in agriculture and processing is required to anchor regional growth. The report, available for download below, will be a foundation piece for future Food Agility projects and aims to serve as an exemplar for the analysis of regional development opportunities.
This project has also been influential in shaping future development work in the Gippsland region - an example is the KPMG Report released in March 2019, 'Accelerating growth for the Gippsland food and fibre industry'.