Globally and domestically, demand for food is increasing with food security becoming a major issue.
Growth in export and domestic markets
Growth in the Chinese, other Asian and Indian markets in particular, is rapidly opening up opportunities for Australian producers. Domestically, market gardens and orchards were established around the fringes of the major cities. Urban growth, particularly in the Sydney, Central Coast and Lower Hunter Regions is displacing a range of horticultural activities including vegetable and cut flower producers, mushroom farms, wholesale and retail nurseries and turf producers.
Ease of access to export and domestic markets
Being only two hours from Sydney, half an hour from Newcastle and on the Sydney – Brisbane national freight corridor, Cessnock City is ideally located to supply fresh produce into the Sydney and east coast markets. In addition, Hunter Wine Country in Cessnock City is a high profile food and wine destination and there is strong demand locally from cafes and restaurants, cellar doors and accommodation properties for quality, local produce. Proximity to the Port of Newcastle and Newcastle Airport provides access to international markets for growers looking to export produce.
Added to this, significant changes are occurring in the market place, with consumers are becoming more health conscious and food-aware, increasingly seeking fresh, locally produce quality produce, including organic produce. This is creating further opportunities for local and regional producers.
Cessnock LGA is ideally suited for protective horticulture (greenhouse) and for boutique production of vegetables, herbs and some fruits, as well as nurseries and cut flower production. In addition to a high level of accessibility to domestic and global market, Cesscock City also offers the ability for producers to leverage the high profile and reputation of Hunter Wine Country as a wine and food destination; agricultural land including small acreages suitable for horticulture; favourable climatic conditions; access to power and water and access to skilled and unskilled labour as well as horticulture courses at Kurri Kurri TAFE.
Horticultural opportunities in Cessnock City include:
- Glasshouse production of vegetables and cut flowers using for the domestic and/or international market
- Producing quality seasonal produce for the local market (cafes, restaurants, accommodation properties etc)
- Asian ‘greens’ produced for the Asian market
- Wholesale and retail plant nurseries. The development of Huntlee and other residential estates provide opportunities to supply plants and services. There may also be opportunity to provide plants and/or services to the coal mining sector for mine site rehabilitation.
- Turf farming on the fertile river flats