Queensland’s emerging agritourism sector requires support to develop and grow through an industry-led approach that would embrace a direct connection between farmers and consumers to share where our state’s high quality food, fibre and foliage comes from and how it is produced.
The Growing Queensland’s Agritourism Sector initiative, led by the Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) in partnership with Regionality, would see stakeholders from across government, tourism, regional development, agriculture, small business, and infrastructure collaborate to sow the seeds of opportunity for agritourism in the state.
QFF CEO Dr Georgina Davis said a recent stakeholder meeting was a productive and positive first step in raising Queensland to be the number one agritourism destination in Australia, estimating the sector was worth around $5 billion to the state economy by 2030.
“Agritourism provides opportunities for farmers to supplement their income and market their produce through alternative channels, while gathering valuable direct feedback including emerging preferences from consumers, which is pertinent during the current COVID-19 pandemic and as on-farm costs grow,” Dr Davis said.
“The project would provide the opportunity for interested farmers to explore the viability of agritourism while ensuring they are given training and resources that would enable them to develop profitable agritourism enterprises in Queensland.”
Managing Director of Regionality Rose Wright who heads a team of farm innovation and agritourism experts said without the necessary tools and skills, farmers were often unable to capitalise on these opportunities and translate funding support to profit.
“There are many regulatory and compliance barriers that farmers need to identify and work through if they intend to set up an agritourism enterprise and be successful,” Ms Wright said.
“Our job is to ensure that our farmers and their regional communities are fully supported to develop their own unique agritourism offerings, that also meet customer needs and expectations.”
While Queensland’s agritourism sector is underdeveloped, there are a number of highly successful enterprises operating throughout the state.
Agribusiness entrepreneur Kay Tommerup of Tommerup’s Dairy Farm, which sells farm produce, hosts events and market days, and offers farm stay accommodation, said without the right tools and training, they would never have had the confidence to diversify.
“We’ve gone from being dependent on the whims of a major milk processor, to being fully in control of our future and our business’ success. It is a terrific feeling.”
Following the recent release of the Queensland Government’s Economic Recovery: Strengthening Queensland’s Agribusiness and Food Sector initiative, QFF and its project partners are looking forward to working with the government to unlock the potential for agritourism in the state and add value beyond the farm gate.