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Historical document

Facilitating the communication and development of the Tasmanian vegetable industry, continuation of VG00070 (MT07055)

Key research provider: University of Tasmania
Publication date: July, 2009

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Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.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?

In 1996 a Vegetable Research & Development (R&D) Levy was introduced to put funding of projects on a secure basis and to better manage industry priorities and extension of outcomes. To facilitate industry driven research and to disseminate outcomes Industry Development Officers (IDO) were established in each State by Hort Innovation (which was then Horticulture Australia Limited). The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association hosted the first IDO commencing in January 2001 to service the levy paying Vegetable Industry. In 2006 the Potato and Onion industry IACs agreed to contribute to become part of the Tasmanian IDO project.

The value had been a dedicated person to facilitate two way communication and information transfer between growers, secondary industry, agronomy providers, R&D providers, AUSVEG (the Vegetable Industry peak body) and the then Horticulture Australia Limited. Networking of State IDOs had facilitated communication and actions on national issues.

Promoting the role of the IDO position was the first task which resulted in the IDO building a personal network with all the commodity industries, R&D bodies, service providers, key growers and groups.

To facilitate communications a database was built. A complete postal list had been compiled and progressively developed to include crop and other contact details. (Further work was required to capture full details for all growers.)

Targeted distribution of R&D information had been a major role. The IDO had produced a quarterly newsletter to highlight R&D results, industry events, topical issues and conducted surveys and reviews to gather information.

Other valued activities were managing chemical issues, facilitation and support of workshops and field-days and assisting with biosecurity and pest issues.

Industry priorities were actively sought to direct R&D. The IDO had worked with commodity industries, local Agricultural Research & Advisory Committees and the national Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee (IAC) Production Advisory and Chemical Technical groups.

The main outcome had been greater two way communication at both a local and national level. The IDO had been the central contact for information flow to and from the R&D process. A challenge for the future would be delivering the services provided by the IDO that the industry had grown to expect and rely on.

The IDO project finishes on the 30th of June 2009. It was recommended that the new development program considered:

  • Advising all stakeholders immediately that the IDO position no longer existed with a brief of the new program, its aims, a contact person, its management structure and personnel.
  • Putting in place a contact person to handle queries and to manage or redirect services, previously delivered by the IDO.
  • As a priority establishing a network by personal contact with the major processors, packers and agronomy companies.
  • That the R&D delegates were provided assistance to be able to make the best decisions they could on directing the levy investment.
  • That vegetable development projects in Tasmania included potatoes and onions because with carrots, brassicas and peas these crops dominated the crop mix grown by farmers and the mix handled by packers, exporters and processors.
  • That with greater uptake of the internet in recent years it was now timely to utilise it for more efficient and rapid communication. A follow-up survey to build the phone, email and crop details in the database was likely to be successful and was recommended. At a later time an annual resurvey of growers, processors and packers could be used to also capture crop statistics.
  • That a website for the new program would provide efficiencies for information collation and distribution.
  • That traditional printed material and postal distribution were still essential to reach all of industry.
  • That Chemical management was a major area to be maintained and kept up to date.
  • How best it could support emergency biosecurity events as well as long-term management options.
Details

ISBN:
0 7341 2128 8

Funding statement:
This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the voluntary financial support of the vegetable and potato industries.

Copyright:
Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2009. 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)).