THERE are growing calls for the state government to provide financial support for Victoria’s 120 field days and agriculture shows held across regional Victoria each year.
Leader of the Nationals and Shadow Agriculture Minister, Peter Walsh said agriculture shows were an important part of regional and rural life in Victoria.
“They are an annual highlight for many country communities, providing an interactive opportunity for regional Victorians to showcase locally produced food and fibre,” Mr Walsh said.
He said $1 million in grant money over two years was being sought by Victorian Agriculture Shows (VAS) to keep the rural tradition of agriculture shows alive.
“It is extremely disappointing to have learned Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes totally dismissed assisting agricultural shows at a recent meeting between herself and VAS,” Mr Walsh said.
VAS is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting local communities deliver hundreds of events in rural and regional Australia. Last year over two million people attended VAS affiliated events.
Eastern Victoria MP Melina Bath said Minister Symes should be jumping out of her skin to support agriculture shows, which showcase agricultural excellence.
“Up and coming and aspiring agricultural enthusiasts and backyard hobbyists can feature their skills and products while learning new techniques from others.
“They promote understanding of the food and fibre industry, helping to educate the community on how and where products come from.”
Mr Walsh said Victoria was Australia’s largest producer of food and fibre products with the agriculture production alone supporting 68,400 direct jobs, many of which were in regional Victoria, while a further 76,800 were in food and beverage manufacturing.