HORTICULTURE contributed $528 million to the Tablelands economy in 2018-2019, a new economic publication reveals.
The value of the industry is one of the focal points of the Mareeba Chamber of Commerce’s 2019-20 Economic Snapshot.
Chamber president Joe Moro said the value of horticulture, which has risen some 45 per cent since the 2015 analysis, was no surprise given the growth of plantings in key commodities across the region.
“Horticulture is the predominant agriculture industry in the broader Mareeba region, and its flow on effects are significant,” Mr Moro said.
In the chamber’s publication, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Mareeba-based principal horticulturist Dr Geoff Dickinson explains how the significant increase was largely due to the expansion and maturing of avocado, blueberry and citrus plantings within the region and moderate to good market prices for a number of other key horticulture industries.
The avocado industry is the most valuable to the Tablelands ($173 million), with other notable industries including banana ($97 million), mango ($58 million), citrus ($56 million), blueberries ($43 million), papaya ($19 million) and potatoes ($18 million).
Agriculture is just one of the industries under the spotlight in the glossy, A4 publication which provides an overview of Mareeba’s economic achievements, strengths and opportunities.
“Retail, tourism and industry, together with agriculture, are the economic backbone of our town and surrounding areas, so it’s appropriate that as a chamber we take the opportunity to celebrate our strengths,” Mr Moro said.
“At the same time, the snapshot takes the opportunity to look at critical issues like a safe, efficient and reliable transport network and long-term water security, and the urgent need to address these to ensure Mareeba continues along the development trajectory that it has enjoyed to date.”
The annual economic snapshot is a highlight of the economic footprint and major issues in the area. Copies of the publication are free and available now from selected outlets in Mareeba including The Express Newspaper.