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Growers urged to boost soil health

Updated: 14/06/2010


Keynote speaker at the 2010 AUSVEG convention, Major General Michael Jeffery, AC, AO(Mil), CVO, MC (Retd), and former Governor-General of Australia., has urged growers to improve the health of their soils and boost the nutritional content of the food

"It is the responsibility of food growers to produce the best quality and most nutritious food possible," he said.

"Food retailers also need to ensure they market the best-value food possible and individual consumers need to be well informed about what they eat.

AUSVEG is the prescribed peak industry body (PIB) for the Australian Vegetable and Potato Industries

Maj-Gen Jeffery called on AUSVEG, to take the lead in reshaping the average Australian diet to include twice as many vegetables.

He said correct labelling was essential to enable consumers to make informed choices and take control of their own health.

And he urged the development of a "unified co-operative vision" to prevent further decline in the productivity of farming land, which he said had suffered from excessive cultivation, irrigation, and reliance on chemical imputs.

"In the main, our agricultural philosophy has focused on yield, size and profit ... we have mined much of our soils of their natural plant nutrients."

Maj-Gen Jeffery expressed concern that adding vitamins to compensate for known nutrient deficiencies - as well as extra sugar, salt, fat, stabilisers, preservatives and flavourings - was contributing to obesity, diabetes and other health issues.

AUSVEG chief executive Richard Mulcahy said Maj-Gen Jeffery had warned him beforehand that his speech would be provocative.

"Australia has some of the most nutritious and high-quality produce in the world," Mr Mulcahy said. "Eating vegetables is one of the best things that an individual can do for their health and it is important that this is encouraged from an early age."

Source: Sandra Godwin , Weekly Times - 11 June 2010


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