The growing Asian, and particularly Chinese, middle class demand for higher protein diets is presenting a tremendous opportunity for the Tasmanian dairy industry.
Speaking at the Dairy Industry Association Conference at Strahan today, I highlighted the Liberal Government's long-term plan for agriculture, Agrivision 2050, which is aimed at increasing the value of the state's agricultural sector to $10 billion a year by 2050.
Recent developments in the dairy industry demonstrate how realistic this target is, with new investment seen at Murray Goulburn's Edith Creek facility, Lion's cheese making operations in Burnie, at Fonterra at Spreyton and Wynyard, Tasmanian Dairy Products at Smithton, and also at Cadbury.
In addition to the traditional domestic market, more and more of this investment is focused on processing and packing dairy products for Asian markets, where, as a senior dairy analyst said yesterday, there is increasing demand.
While the dairy industry currently employs about 2000 Tasmanians in a range of on and off farm jobs, the potential for growth is impressive and, if realised, will go a long way to helping us achieve our Agrivision 2050, which is ultimately about creating more jobs.
This is why the Government is so supportive for the IntoDairy: Sustainable Development Strategy, championed by DairyTas, and why we are committed to investing in agriculture, including such initiatives as new irrigation schemes.