Call for agricultural branding

Rueben HaleThe West Australian

Farmers need to work with industry to build the State's brand, according to an agricultural communication expert.

Swiss-based editor and managing director of the independent Agricultural Information Centre, Markus Rediger, said WA agriculture tended to be divided into commodity groups and could benefit from a common campaign to draw farmers and other members of the agricultural industry together and promote a single brand.

At a breakfast sponsored in joint partnership with Rural Media Association and Royal Agricultural Society at the IGA Perth Royal Show, Mr Rediger, who is responsible for positioning agriculture in his country Switzerland, shared his experiences to guests from industry about how his native country had focused on building a trusted and easily recognisable brand for its food products.

Mr Rediger, who is also president of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists, was joined by a panel of experts, including 2015 WA RIRDC Rural Women's Award winner Tress Walmsley and WA's 2014 Rural Ambassador Callum Wesley, of Southern Cross, to discuss their views on raising the profile of agriculture.

Mr Rediger said in Switzerland it had been found a basic but well-designed and researched communication campaign, that was accessible to everybody, had proven to be a successful marketing strategy to raise the profile and awareness of where food comes from and how it is produced.

"The campaign also deals with people's concerns about the environmental impact, animal welfare and food safety/quality, with food production in Switzerland," he said.

"A single widely recognised brand benefits the entire agricultural industry in Switzerland, which in turn helps our economy to grow, and beef, pork, grain and other sectors can use the brand as the basis to build their markets."

RAS chief executive Peter Cooper said bridging the agriculture knowledge gap between city and rural children was an important first step towards developing a well-understood brand.

"The RAS is focused on educating children about where food comes from, and to give them the connection to agriculture from an early age so they understand the importance of farmers in the community and also raise the profile of agriculture as a rapidly growing industry which offers many career pathways for them in the future," he said.

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