Federal Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce visited the office of Apple and Pear Australia Ltd (APAL) for an industry update on Thursday 13 March 2014.
During the Minister’s visit, APAL Chair John Lawrenson and CEO John Dollisson shared information about the industry’s value and productivity, as well as the potential for exports.
“It was a pleasure to welcome Minister Joyce to the offices of APAL,” said John Dollisson. “Aside from providing a general industry update, we also shared with him our ideas where we could potentially work together to build a stronger brand for fresh Australian produce and related tourism.”
“This could help build the clean, green and safe image of Australian apples and pears and open up higher value markets for the industry internationally and secure the market share our produce currently holds in the domestic space as trade with other countries opens.”
The Minister was also informed about APAL’s work in managing the Pink Lady™ brand on behalf of Australian growers and the leading work of the University of Sydney in robotics for horticulture, which the Minister found most interesting.
APAL stressed that free trade agreements were of little assistance to the industry without market access and we encouraged him to ensure the issue was given high importance in his department.
The Minister asked lots of questions and showed lots of interest in the supply chain and resources required to maximise efficiencies in packing sheds. He was also positive about new pear varieties in the pipeline.
He acknowledged the challenges of fruit fly and the need to address it and was informed of the good work Horticulture Australia Ltd was doing to coordinate and focus research in the area.
“We are looking forward to working with the Minister and his department where-ever we can to strategically support apple and pear growers,” said Dollisson.
The Minister was also joined by his Horticultural Advisor Melinda Hashimoto. Following his visit, the Minister proceeded to the Rural Press Club of Victoria where he gave a presentation.