Food & Fibre Gippsland | Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations 2021
The Food & Fibre Gippsland (FFG) industry cluster was formed in 2019 through amalgamation of East Gippsland Food Cluster and Agribusiness Gippsland. Conceived to provide a united voice for food and agribusiness industry members and to deliver a whole-of-region approach, FFG has considerable reach, covering a geographic area of just over 41,500 km2.
As a participant in FIAL’s National Cluster Program, FFG aims to sustainably grow the region’s agrifood sector, fostering a collaborative industry culture that promotes working together to advance research and development, strengthen value chains and minimise export costs.
Involvement in the program delivers national networking opportunity that has opened doors beyond the clusters and outside of the food sector. This has translated to cross-sector clustering arrangements designed to bring advanced manufacturing, climate adaptation and drought- related expertise, solutions and technologies to the region’s food sector.
Food and fibre is one of four identified growth sectors under the Latrobe Valley Authority’s (LVA) Smart Specialisation Strategy — a project designing a place-based, long-term approach for the Gippsland region to become more sustainable and cohesive. It fosters growth by supporting industry, members and businesses according to activities that focus on innovation and drive evidence-based data that will deliver a competitive advantage to the region.
FFG has attracted a steady membership, averaging five to seven new members each month. There is no prescribed parameter of measurable ‘benefit’ that comes from membership, with the foundational strength of the cluster approach being interaction and networking — in essence, members get back what they put in.
To encourage interaction and foster member digital evolution, FFG is establishing Knowledge Economy Digital Innovation (KE DI), a B2B and peer-to-peer networking platform that allows members to connect and interact in open or private forums, lessening the requirement for FFG to act as facilitator.
FIAL’s support has empowered FFG and pushed innovation to the forefront of its strategy, allowing it to develop structure and processes that empower members to facilitate their own growth, while still being positioning itself as an active participator in further development of the region’s vibrant food and agribusiness sector.