As we prepare for Christmas and the New Year we are all praying for good weather to ensure the harvest is maximised.
We are also doing all we can to work with the retailers to maximise the return on the pear crop, affected twice by hailstorms in the Goulburn Valley, to ensure a return for growers. Unfortunately some have lost almost all their crop and we are working alongside Fruit Growers Victoria to hopefully get assistance from government to support the purchase of hail netting to protect future harvests.
As you may be aware, with the disruption to the Hort Innovation marketing campaign this year, APAL has taken over the marketing of apples and pears until year end. We have completed a detailed analysis of the industry data to prepare both apple and pear category management plans to work with the retailers and plan new marketing campaigns both above and below the line. By Christmas we will have met with all the retailers a couple of times and hopefully have their buy in on the plans. We will then work with them and the apple and pear suppliers to work together on the 2016 season.
Included in our marketing work has been the development of our new Hailstorm Heroes pear campaign, which has been well received by the retailers and importantly the public with great media exposure and feedback thanks to Olivia Tait, APAL’s Market Development Manager. In the New Year, we will share with you further updates on the campaign and the analysis of the marketing data on apples and pears.
Two great events will kick start the New Year – the Post-Harvest Seminar scheduled for 13 January 2016 in Melbourne and the start of the Future Orchards® summer walks from 25 January 2016. I encourage you to participate and look forward to meeting many of you there.
In addition to marketing and technical programs we have taken an active role in the review of the Modern Horticulture Award through the Voice of Horticulture and we will be approaching you in January to complete a survey so we can demonstrate the damage changes to casual/part time, minimum terms of engagement etc. will have on our businesses.
2015 has not been an easy year with lower than average prices and hail damage, but we have been successful in increasing pear exports and pulled together a great apple export program, which we can build on to expand the industry. I am pleased to see a developing export market for Joya® (Sundowner) in Asia and for anyone interested in this please contact me.
On behalf of the team at APAL we wish you a happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year. Remember that 2016 is a leap year and the year of the Olympics – Rio 2016 the 31st Summer Olympics, let’s also make it an Olympic year for apples and pears!