The Queensland agriculture sector, its farmers and rural communities are no stranger to significant and continuing challenges. The current coronavirus pandemic is no different, affecting the agricultural workforce and supply chains. As the state turns now towards recovery, the Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) has made an active contribution to the transition and transformation of the sector through membership of the Queensland Industry Recovery Alliance which has informed the state government’s industry recovery package. The package includes funding for agritourism as well as other opportunities for diversification, which shows the government is listening. QFF has been calling for support for existing agritourism enterprises as well as development of new opportunities. This support will encourage more tourists (domestic and international, when permitted), to visit, stay longer and to spend more money in rural and regional Queensland while assisting farmers to diversify their income streams and resilience.
Agritourism experiences are being increasingly sought after as consumers desire to create a direct connection and better understand where their food comes from, learn how it is produced and experience the ultimate in low food miles by enjoying produce where it is grown and made. With many and varied agritourism activities available ranging from direct shop front outlets with produce tastings, regional markets, farm and winery tours, to cooking classes, and farm stays. For primary producers, it provides an opportunity to supplement their income and market their produce through alternative channels, often attracting a premium price, or capturing margin that would otherwise be captured elsewhere in the food value chain, while gathering valuable direct feedback from end consumers about their produce and emerging consumer preferences.
Queensland has an exceptional range of agricultural produce and a beautiful and highly diverse natural environment. What better way for Queensland’s agricultural sector to engage with consumers, develop understanding of food production and build trust than invite them on farm. We are encouraged to see that the Queensland Government agrees, and we look forward to working together to embrace agritourism and share the incredible and diverse regions that our farmers call home.