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Historical document

Facilitating the development of the Queensland apple industry (AP05005)

Key research provider: Growcom
Publication date: September, 2008

This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.

What was it all about?

This project aimed to continue to improve communication within the Queensland apple industry through the continued employment of an Industry Development Officer (IDO). Activities included; production of a monthly newsletter, sending of ad hoc information to growers as important issues arose, organisation of workshops and assisting local grower groups. High priority areas of action for the IDO included the need for orchard modification, water use efficiency and environmental sustainability.

From the above over-arching goal, several specific aims were devised:

  1. Progress strategic initiatives to help ensure a viable industry in the future
  2. Increase industry unity, leadership and independence to develop sustainability
  3. Increase business opportunities through network development giving growers more alternatives
  4. Improve communication and extension of information so that growers could make informed decisions regarding their future
  5. Development of a key stakeholder database to enable more effective communication

The main activities undertaken throughout the project included:

  • Development of an industry strategic plan
  • Increasing industry cohesion, unity and knowledge by involving growers in key decisions
  • Increasing communication within industry
  • Attending and arranging industry meetings and orchard walks
  • Facilitating increased involvement by the Stanthorpe Apple Committee in industry matters
  • Coordinating grower tours
  • Helping to coordinate industry consultation for key industry issues such as biosecurity, imports and orchard walks

The key outcomes from the project included the development of an industry strategic plan, the development of strong lasting industry networks for growers and greater industry knowledge through the Future Orchards 2012 program (aimed at increasing Australian orchard efficiencies to an international standard). As a result the growing sector was communicating more effectively with other stakeholders and growers were becoming more united. The industry was also now in a position to plan for its own future in coordination with national and international strategies.

It was recommended that the IDO project be continued past September 2008 to provide industry with the resources to continue developing and plan effectively for its own future. Provisional approval had been given to the outline of a new IDO proposal and funds allocated accordingly. Throughout the next generation of this project, the IDO would again be working closely with growers and other stakeholders to secure the best outcomes for industry.

This project greatly benefited industry in many ways including:

  • A stronger sense of industry direction and cohesion. The local Stanthorpe Apple Committee became more involved in local industry issues and had helped to facilitate more direct contact with the National Peak Industry Body (Apple and Pear Australia (APAL)) and the State Representative Body Growcom.
  • More united grower groups and more informed stakeholders. This was facilitated through local grower meetings and more direct involvement from the Stanthorpe Apple Committee, APAL and Growcom.
  • A more proactive and independent industry through ongoing support from the Stanthorpe Apple Committee, Growcom and APAL.
  • Better links with the National Peak Industry body and raising the profile of the Queensland industry at a National level
  • A more well-informed industry through exposure to experienced guest speakers at orchard walks, regular grower meetings relating to industry issues and a diverse and flexible communication strategy by the State representative body, Growcom. This communication strategy could be seen at Appendix 1 and included the use of a variety of media.

The key learning from project AP05005 was that there needed to be continued investment in industry development. Given the significant challenges the industry faced into the future, it was vital that growers had as much support as possible.

Future support needed to be flexible and focused and if this could be managed it had great potential to alleviate significant industry hurdles and motivate critical industry progress, without onerous and cumbersome strategies that lack grass-roots engagement.

This support was vital if horticultural industries were to continue to adapt to shifting market conditions and prosper into the future.

Details

ISBN:
0 7341 1838 4

Funding statement:
This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the financial support of Growcom.

Copyright:
Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2008. The Final Research Report (in part or as whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation (except as may be permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)).