It was good to see so many of you at Hort Connections for an interesting few days covering new technology and research.
My congratulations go to our APAL Awards for Excellence 2018 recipients. Notably, researchers Dr Sally Bound and David Williams, Pomewest Project Manager Susie Murphy-White, Exporter of the Year Montague, Grower of the Year Gerard Alampi, and Rising Star Nathan Barolli. In particular I would like to congratulate Lifetime Achievement Award recipients David Williams, Agriculture Victoria, and Ray Montague, Montague Group, for their tireless work advancing the productivity and profitability of apple and pear businesses.
At the conference APAL shared our work on new market research to understand consumers’ attitudes to apple and pear price and quality. We have now presented the research to major retailers.
We will use its findings – that fruit quality, rather than price, is the primary purchase driver – to work with vendors and retailers on a consumer focussed-strategy to build the category. Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong in September will be an opportunity for industry to engage with buyers and retailers in our region who are interested in Australian apples and pears, including new varieties. With export a key industry priority, I am pleased to report that APAL has been awarded the tender for the new Hort Innovation project, Export readiness and market access for the Australian apple and pear industry. Stay tuned for more information.
I urge you to attend the upcoming Future Orchards® walks on managing crop load to deliver fruit consistency and fruit quality. They are an excellent opportunity to hear from experts and see practical demonstrations.