The Marshall Liberal Government will provide up to $50,000 to the South Australian Produce Market to purchase and install a metal detector to help boost consumer confidence in the strawberry industry, with the local growing season just weeks away.
The State Government will also work with the strawberry industry to help deliver a consumer campaign to launch the start of the season.
A temporary metal detector has been placed at the South Australian Produce Market and the funding will allow for a permanent option, supporting not only the strawberry industry but other horticulture-related commodities into the future.
Premier Steven Marshall said the industry has been buoyed by the support of the South Australian public.
“With the local strawberry season still weeks away, the industry is optimistic about the current wave of support from consumers buying strawberries. We want to make sure this demand continues when local strawberries start hitting the shelves,” said Premier Marshall.
“I encourage South Australians to purchase strawberries in coming weeks and get behind our farmers by shopping local.
“We must not let the actions of a few put us off buying local strawberries – ‘cut them up, don’t cut them out’.”
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the State Government has been working closely with industry stakeholders on options to provide support for the local strawberry industry in the face of recent nationwide challenges.
“The Marshall Liberal Government recognises the need to assist strawberry growers in South Australia maintain consumer confidence as this is a $42 million industry in this state,” said Minister Whetstone.
“The metal detector will be an asset of enduring benefit to the industry, enabling the sector to respond quickly providing community confidence in the face of any future contamination scares.
“The metal detector will be available for all South Australian strawberry growers to use.
“The greatest support that all South Australians can give the industry is to keep buying strawberries.
“The State Government and the strawberry industry are working with Brand South Australia to deliver a consumer campaign to help launch the start of the local strawberry season.”
South Australian Produce Market Chief Executive Officer Angelo Demasi said the installation of the metal detector would help consumer confidence.
“The Horticulture Coalition of South Australia and the South Australian Produce Market thank the Marshall government for funding a communal metal detector for growers, wholesalers and exporters to use during the upcoming season,” said Mr Demasi.
“While the national investigations continue, this will enable growers to continue to service consumers locally, interstate and overseas.
“We want to ensure growers can prepare for the upcoming season and reassure consumers that they are able to enjoy locally grown, fresh strawberries without fear.”
In 2016-17 South Australia produced around 6,000 tonnes of strawberries with a farm gate value of $42 million and Gross Food Revenue of $73 million (revenue from all final international, interstate and local retail sales).
Strawberries are a seasonal crop and are usually produced between October and May in South Australia.