“No fruit left behind” program launched by Visy’s Anthony Pratt
Anthony Pratt, Executive Chairman, Visy speaking at the Global Food Forum at Sydney's Westin Hotel sponsored by The Australian Newspaper. Picture: Adam Taylor
Visy Chairman Anthony Pratt has launched his “no fruit left behind” program that will use technological innovation to ensure all Australian fruit is successfully sold and not wasted.
Speaking at The Australian’s Global Food Forum in Sydney yesterday, Pratt said he wanted to start the program after hearing of a Tasmanian berry grower who had to leave tonnes of fruit to rot on the vine because they could not find enough pickers.
“Labour shortage is a problem and young people today don’t want the same backbreaking work that their parents had,” Pratt said.
As part of the program, berry producer, Driscoll’s, have developed a strawberry plant that grows taller so the picker does not have to bend down.
“This is an example of technology and with practical R&D fostering young entrepreneurs, we can transform food agriculture,” Pratt said.
More agriculture science graduates needed
Pratt said that more agriculture science graduates are required in Australia to help find smarter ways to farm, especially with Australian farmers battling a harsh climate.
“Our harsh climate means that we only produce food on less than 15 per cent of our land but in America they grow food on 50 per cent of their land,” Pratt said.
“Export food, not jobs”
Pratt also used his speech to say Australian food companies should be focusing on creating value-added products made in Australia but exported to the rest of the world, relying on Australia’s reputation for food safety.
“For when you sell wheat as wheat, you get $200 a tonne for it; if you turn it into flour, you get $500 a tonne for it; and if you turn it into bread, you get $5000 a tonne,” Pratt said.
“And this applies to things like snap freezing vegetables or table-ready meals.
“One of our biggest selling points is the safety of our food,
“There are very few countries with a food safety record of Australia, especially if you compare it to incidents like melamine in milk scandal that killed Chinese children.”
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