Australia’s irrigators have been working hard to produce the fresh vegetables, fruit and nuts everyone has enjoyed over the Christmas and new year holidays.
‘‘One of the things Australians love about summer is being able to enjoy tables laden with fresh fruit, nuts, summer salads and plenty of healthy vegies,’’ National Irrigators Council chief executive officer Steve Whan said.
‘‘Australian Bureau of Statistics figures confirm the vital role irrigation plays in getting those delicious and nutritious foods to our tables,’’ Mr Whan said.
‘‘By value 80 per cent of NSW’s vegetables are grown by irrigators, 76 per cent of fruit and nuts and over 90 per cent of grapes.
‘‘Victorians get 75 per cent of their vegetables from irrigators, 95 per cent of fruit and nuts and 97 per cent of their grapes.’’
In Queensland, it’s 74 per cent of vegetables grown, 89 per cent of fruit and nuts and 98 per cent of grapes. For South Australians, 95 per cent of their vegies come from irrigators, 95 per cent of their fruit and nuts and 96 per cent of their grapes, including those grown for wine.
‘‘It’s important for Australian consumers, particularly those in the cities, to realise why getting the balance right on water issues is so important,’’ Mr Whan said.
‘‘Irrigators want to see healthy rivers and we believe that can happen at the same time as enhancing our capacity to produce the food Australians love to eat and the natural fibre we like to wear.
‘‘Unfortunately, we don’t always get that balance in public comment on issues to do with water use.
‘‘Australia’s irrigators are thousands of mainly family owned farms who lead the world in water efficiency, who pay for every drop they use and who have been out in the hot sun over the last month growing the food we’ve enjoyed over the summer break.
‘‘If we want them to keep doing that then we need to ensure their role as producers of food, fibre and jobs is valued alongside the need to restore the environmental health of our rivers.’’