Applications have opened for the Building South Australia’s Premium Food and Wine Credentials Grant Program, with individual grants of up to A$30,000 awarded on a competitive basis.
Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Minister Leon Bignell said the grant programme would help producers including the premium seafood industry achieve an industry-aligned independent tick of approval, now sought after in international markets.
Mr Bignell said: “Overseas food and wine exports are a massive contributor to the South Australian economy, accounting for A$4.8 billion of the record A$17.1 billion revenue in 2013–14.
“Across Australia and internationally, restaurants and seafood retailers are increasingly looking for the reassurance of a tick of approval from independent, industry-standard certification.
“The Government will work side by side with the seafood industry to make sure they are given every opportunity to export their quality produce into markets right around the world.
“This grant program will help seafood harvesters, producers, processors and manufacturers to leverage their premium products and position themselves in the international marketplace.
“The backing of an achieved certification provides customers with assurance about what they are buying, by being assessed by an independent third party that certifies what it is and the environment where it was produced.”
Mr Bignell said that certification already benefits the local seafood industry, as two of the State’s fisheries, the Spencer Gulf Prawn Fishery and the South Australian Lakes and Coorong Fishery, have the prestigious Marine Stewardship Council certification.
“This is an internationally recognised environmental accreditation which rewards sustainable fishing practices and these fisheries are now able to compete internationally with endorsement of the MSC approval,” he said.