Home' Grower : May 2012 Contents The South Australian Grower -- May 2012
Rising fuel, transportation and production costs, changing climatic conditions, and the
lack of skilled labour available in regional areas, are just some of the hurdles our
growers are facing, which will need to be overcome to ensure the future sustainability
of our industry.
By RICHARD MULCAHY,
AUSVEG chief executive officer
IT IS vital that growers in this country
are able to operate on a level playing
field. The Australian vegetable indus-
try faces some big challenges now and in
the years ahead.
We must continue fighting to ensure
that our growers can compete with their
international counterparts and can con-
tinue to supply the kind of fresh, high-
quality produce that Australian con-
sumers deser ve.
Policies and other initiatives should
work to strengthen our industries and
not come at their expense.
The Federal Government for instance,
recently announced that an Australia-China
Free Trade Agreement is getting closer to
being realised, while also outlining this
month its intentions to develop closer eco-
nomic relations with New Zealand.
While the details of these particular deals
are yet to be mapped out, it is imperative
that the needs of Australian growers be at
the forefront of any agreements that are
made, as they will inevitably impact on
Australian horticulture industries.
Rising fuel, transportation and produc-
tion costs, changing climatic conditions,
and the lack of skilled labour available in
regional areas, are just some of the hur-
dles our growers are facing, which will
need to be overcome to ensure the future
sustainability of our industry.
The high $A and increasing level of
imported food products in this country -
particularly in the frozen and processed
vegetable sectors -- are adding further
pressure to the already tightened profit
margins of Australian vegetable growers.
We should also be wary of the long-
term knock-on effects that recent cuts to
prices of produce at major supermarkets
could have on the industry.
If allowed to become the norm, these
price cuts may further reduce the already
low farmgate prices, after the current
glut of produce in the market runs out.
To truly tackle many of these chal-
lenges, strong advocacy must be also be
matched by our commitment as a unified
industry, to promote the development
and adoption of innovative, more effi-
cient farming practices and equipment.
Growers and members of the industry
alike can all play an important role in
helping to address these issues and take
our industry for ward.
The upcoming AUSVEG National
Convention, Trade Show and Awards for
Excellence will provide an important
platform to do this.
In Hobart from May 10-12, the con-
vention will allow attendees to update
themselves on the many industr y
research projects now being conducted.
It is also the perfect opportunity for our
industry to take a moment to recognise
the outstanding achievements and con-
tributions that have been made by grow-
ers, researchers and businesses across the
supply chain over the past 12 months.
As we look to further strengthen and
unify our industry, I strongly encourage
all members of the industry to get
involved in the AUSVEG convention,
which has quickly become the most
important horticulture event of the year.
Onions run rings
By LECHELLE EARL
Onions Australia communications and events
MOST people are aware of the significant health
benefits of onions, but many are unaware of the
unusual 'old wives tales' also associated with the
humble allium. Although onions are used as an
ingredient in hundreds, perhaps thousands, of recipes,
they are also used to battle much-loathed lurgies.
According to international reports, world onion
production has been steadily increasing over the years
and the onion crop has become the second-most-
important horticultural crop after tomatoes.
And while their popularity remains in cooking, it is
also growing in alternative medicinal circles. It has
been proved that onions are effective against many
bacteria, but are not as potent as garlic.
With this in mind, the Onions Australia office is regularly
inundated with allium health claims. In traditional Chinese
medicine onions have been used to treat breathing
problems and coughs, bacterial infections and angina.
Early American settlers also used onions to treat
respiratory problems such as asthma, coughs and colds.
Western medicine has also recognised the benefits of
onions, with the World Health Organisation supporting
the use of onions for treatment of poor appetite, and
for relief from coughs and colds, bronchitis and
asthma. In addition, onion can suppress the growth of
harmful bacteria in the colon, and therefore reduce the
risk of tumours developing in the colon.
International studies have also shown that onion
extracts, rich in a variety of sulphides, provide some
protection against other tumour growth, such a
Staying with the bacteria-fighting theme, an old
wives' tale is that raw onions can help to guard against
airborne diseases. The theory goes that either whole or
slices of onion placed around the home, and particularly
by the bedside while sleeping, will draw in 'noxious air'.
Over the centuries the technique continued as part of
folk medicine, being used to ward off the plague and
diseases such as smallpox, influenza, and other infectious
fevers. Sliced onions were also used as poultices,
seemingly drawing infection out of wounds -- certainly
giving new meaning to bringing a tear to the eye.
With a nationwide oversupply of onions, leading to
super-cheap prices at supermarkets and
greengrocers, it seems the perfect time to try out
these old-fashioned remedies.
Death cap mushroom warning for Adelaide Hills
DEADLY death cap mushrooms have been
found in the Adelaide Hills.
And SA Health director Kevin Buckett
says people should avoid eating any
unidentified wild mushrooms.
Dr Buckett believes there is no easy way
to identify if a mushroom is edible.
"They might look OK, but they can still
contain a range of toxins," he said.
"We are already beginning to see wild
mushrooms appear in areas, such as
parks, backyards, farm paddocks, nature
reserves and road-sides.
"This includes reports of the death cap
mushrooms -- amanita phalloides -- which
are extremely poisonous."
Poisonous mushroom can cause severe
abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting and
diarrhoea and in the more severe cases
can cause liver damage and kidney
Dr Buckett said people who became ill
after eating mushrooms were advised to
seek urgent medical attention and take a
whole mushroom with them to help
experts identify the type.
There have been no reports of anyone in
Adelaide eating death cap or any other
poisonous mushrooms so far this year.
But in January, two Canberra residents
died after one of them mistook death cap
mushrooms for an edible variety and used
them in a meal.
Proven weed control in
Choice of liquid or dry formulation
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