Over the next five years, the apple and pear industry has the potential to positively shift its commercial and sustainability prospects. This is the core message to come out of the new Apple and Pear Industry Strategy 2018-2023 co-ordinated on behalf of the industry by APAL.
It’s a positive outlook for growers operating in an industry increasingly exposed to fast-moving and complex global forces from biosecurity to currency fluctuations; from technology advances to more informed and demanding consumers.
With premium brands exciting consumers and future access to new markets (particularly the booming Chinese market) offering tantalising growth potential, the size of the prize is significant. APAL CEO, Phil Turnbull, is bullish about the industry’s prospects – but strongly cautions long-term success will take a fundamental shift to the current operating model and an end to obstructive supply chain fragmentation.
“If we’re serious about our commitment to positively impacting the future for growers, we need a concerted whole of industry effort to engineer growth opportunities and dismantle structures hampering continuous improvement,” he said.
“The success of premium brands, such as Jazz™, Kanzi® and Bravo™, are testament to the powerful impact like-minded growers can have on the industry by working together on provenance, collaborative supply and aligned marketing.
“It’s these same learnings that we will apply to Goulburn River Gold®.
“The new Apple and Pear Industry Strategy 2018-2023 lays out a clear, actionable agenda for aligned, long-term transformation at every stage of the supply chain.”
Four pillars for industry transformation
Developed as a living, actions-oriented strategy, APAL anchors the Strategy to four key pillars for industry viability beyond 2030 and the corresponding actions required for it to be delivered.
“We are charting a course to redress and optimise levies, Government funding and commercial investments across the most critical areas,” Phil said.
The four interdependent pillars for industry transformation laid out by the new Strategy are:
1. Market growth: Targeting domestic and export opportunities through well-managed brands.
2. Supply chain management: Building, capturing and disseminating industry intelligence to accelerate value.
3. Industry sustainability: Bolstering industry viability, integrity and brand reputation.
4. Capability and capacity building: Enhancing the skills and culture of industry players to deliver and lead transformation.
By simultaneously addressing these pillars through a wide range of planned activities, growers can expect a lift in unit value through:
• Improving consumers’ experience in the domestic category.
• Greater export opportunities by playing to Australia’s competitive advantage.
• Growth of premium market segments.
• Clear governance and direct accountability for strategy delivery.
• Improved supply chain intelligence and risk management systems to accelerate learnings and facilitate decision-making.
• Strong focus on factors driving industry sustainability, e.g. improved workplace practices, technology uptake, application of Future Orchards® and biosecurity.
• Equipping industry players with skills, market intelligence and access to resources, to lead industry change.
• Advocacy for growers’ commercial interests as inevitable broader supply chain changes occur, both domestically and globally.
Coordinated by APAL, the new Strategy draws heavily on growers’ insights from recent consultation conducted for the industry’s Strategic Investment Plan, the latest consumer research and the many strategies and industry plans that have previously been developed for the industry, including the Apple & Pear Industry Export Development Strategy which set export goals of 10 per cent of production by 2027.
The key difference between this Strategy and previous approaches is the emphasis on setting out a clear, integrated and outcomes-oriented agenda that will guide whole of industry activity towards a mutually-beneficial future state.
“The plan will be iterative and responsive to real data and events,” Phil said. “It is not a plan to sit on the shelf. It is there to drive, align and deliver real outcomes.”
Striking a new balance
Redressing an imbalance of investment and focus also sits firmly at the core of the new Strategy.
“Productivity initiatives, such as Future Orchards, have proved enormously impactful,” Phil said. “But without a corresponding effort to stimulate market demand, especially in light of diminishing consumption, the ability to optimise those productivity efforts is lost.”
Significantly, the new Strategy also calls for a review of the current industry governance and funding model to ensure delivery partners are directly accountable to growers and programs are not compromised by funding restrictions.
“If the current funding model is unable to support this Industry Strategy, then we need to reconsider how we go about funding the plan,” Phil said. “Rather than jeopardising growers’ futures by compromising on what needs to be done.”