Industry development for the Australian summerfruit industry (SF02017)
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Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.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?
The Summerfruit Industry in 2002 engaged an Industry Development Manager (IDM), Greg McPhee. The role of the position was to ensure that growers were aware of the latest technology and trends and to have a person working on important industry issues.
The project kicked off with an in depth review of how growers got information and how the industry communicated. Email was a new thing to many and there were in 2002 few exploring the internet. For those who could receive emails, a weekly newsletter was established. Called PIP it filled a much need gap and allowed for industry to be kept up to date on things of interest to industry. As well the industry magazine, Summerfruit Quarterly was revamped. Later in the project a website was developed to meet the demand for more specific information. This was now being updated to better meet the growing needs of the industry.
Identified early was that the existing corporate structure of the peak industry body, Summerfruit Australia was no longer the best alternative for the industry. After some examination and consultation with the broader horticultural community a new structure; being a company limited by guarantee was proposed. A new constitution was developed and put out for industry comment and in 2003 Summerfruit Australia Limited was formed. This new company was recognized as the Peak Industry Body and took over the liabilities and assets of Summerfruit Australia Incorporated. New elections were called for a directly elected leadership so ensuring that all have a democratic say. Supporting this move was a tightening of financial controls, development of policies and procedures and committees.
Biosecurity, ensuring all growers and the country were protected from the ravages of pest outbreaks and eradication had been high on the agenda for the IDM during the project. The development of an industry – government agreement (the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed or EPPRD) was the centerpiece of much hard and detailed work in this area. Within this deed was a need for pest categorization, development of models that determined a fair reimbursement, working out how a pest outbreak might practically be evaluated and contained and also industry input to an outbreak.
The IDM subproject with the greatest potential for increased profitability was the development export markets. Market applications were made for China USA and New Zealand. These were pending when this report was published and were forecast to expand possibilities over time. Taiwan had been visited twice to launch the summerfruit season and to better understand the trading limits and opportunities. India and Dubai have also been visited. The IDM had been directed to work on building profitable export markets with a co-operative approach. In conjunction with a R&D project an alliance approach by growers/exporters was being trialed to see if this would be effective.
As well as the major outcomes from the project there have been many smaller achievements that have benefited the industry, such as;
- Keeping growers up to date on chemical approvals, noting any withdrawals and allowing industry to have an input to changes in regulatory systems.
- Having statutory levies in line with industry wishes by ensuring that a levy change proposal was well communicated and dealt with in accordance with DAFF guidelines.
- Implementing a process for fair and democratic elections that both meet the need for corporate compliance and the need for growers to have a fair and democratic say.
- Establishing a national office for Summerfruit Australia, engagement of support staff and ensuring industry had good access.
- Contacting all known summerfruit growers to see if they were receiving maximum benefit from their levies.
- Keeping industry abreast of packaging changes and working with supermarkets to have them better understand industry issues.
Coming out of the project was a continuing need for industry development to meet important issues, a need to re look at IDM roles and structures for the management of industry development projects.
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This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) and the Summerfruit industry.
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