East Gippsland is the "salad bowl" of Australia, with seven of the top ten producers having a footprint in the region, and this week FreshPlaza visiting several growers across Eastern Victoria, discussing a number of issues important to the industry.
Photo: The orange smoke haze from nearby bushfires above the Lindenow crops
The state is battling around 50 fires, with several emergency alerts, Victorian fruit and vegetable growers have so far narrowly escaped any damage from the blazes. But the concern has not totally diminished, with two fires in the region still not under control, and residents in some small townships are being evacuated.
Photo: Bulmer Farms crops
It is adding to the concerns from local farmers, like most of Australia, Gippsland farmers are suffering from drought-like conditions and Managing Director of Bulmer Farms, Andrew Bulmer says the region desperately needs water security.
Photo: Bulmer Farms broccoli
The company has also been involved in a number of initiatives to try and increase the labour market, through traineeships and other pathways, while the region is preparing to host the International Spinach Conference May 2020, along with the East Gippsland Field Days, which attract visitors from all over Australia.
AUSVEG chairman Bill Bulmer, who also lives in the area, and works at the company, discussed a number of ideas that could increase the labour market, and ways that vegetable consumption could be increased through education. He added biosecurity is a major issue Australia needed to remain on top of to protect the industry.
Photo: The site for the proposed site near Glenaladale
Other residents in the Lindenow area are fighting a proposed mine, which will see it set up just 350 metres from where vegetable produce is grown. Spokesman for the Mine Free Glenaladale group, John Hine is concerned the whole industry could be severely impacted, with Australia's reputation for clean, green produce could be affected if government approves this project.