Reeds are a popular and lucrative crop for farmers in South Australia and New South Wales, and their use is growing in Victoria.
But some people are finding it hard to afford the cost of planting them, and it’s a problem that is getting worse in Victoria with a growing shortage of reeds.
In Victoria, the state’s chief agricultural officer, Jim Mancuso, said the number of reed growers in the state had fallen by more than 90 per cent in the past 10 years, to only 6,000.
He said there was a shortage of trees to grow them from and it was a concern for farmers because the trees would die before they could be planted.
Mr Manciso said farmers had had to re-plant the trees because they weren’t ready.
He added the shortage had been exacerbated by the global crisis, as the global oil price crashed in 2015 and the world stock market collapsed.
Mr Hodge said the situation was very different in New South Australia, which had an abundance of reeded trees.
“The NSW growers are very well established and they have had success with the supply and demand situation,” he said.
“They can produce reeds in a lot of different ways, but they have got to find a way to produce them safely and at a very affordable price.”
The NSW government is considering how it will supply the demand for reeds, and is planning to make it a compulsory course of study for students.
“It’s a very important area for the agricultural sector,” Ms Hodge explained.
“If you can find a solution that meets the needs of farmers, then the state can meet the needs for the people who are in that industry.”
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