Growing the Supply Chain Bus tour

Growing the Supply Chain Bus Tour Wrap Up 12-13 July, 2017

Thirty-four representatives of the Horticulture Industry participated in the Growing the Supply Chain bus tour mid July which was funded through BFVG’s VegNET project with major sponsorship from AustSafe Super.

The delegation of growers and Industryfeatured a behind the scenes tour of the Brisbane Produce Markets in Rocklea and visited farms in the Lockyer Valley and Mary River.

Time spent at the markets gave growers the opportunity to catch up with wholesalers, view the extent of product in the marketplace, and meet board members of Brismark and Brisbane Markets Limited.

The visit to the Brisbane Produce Markets included an Industry Breakfast in the Fresh Centre facility of the markets, with presentations from the CEO’s of Foodbank Queensland and the Australian Horticulture Export Association. A representative of AusMarket also spoke to the group about market pricing information and services available to growers to assist them in getting the best price for their produce.

Prior to visiting the Brisbane Produce Market, the tour visited 2017 Ausveg Grower of the Year winner, Anthony and Dianne Staartz, at Koala Farms, in the Lockyer Valley.  Growers had the opportunity to view harvesting and packaging processes of cos lettuce in action, and additionally see the state-of-the-art propagation and nursery facilities.

BFVG’s Managing Director, Bree Watson, participated in the two-day tour with the growers.  “Bus tours are a fantastic way to learn from other growers. They are an opportunity to step away from the daily grind, share stories and to think outside the box,” said Ms Watson.

Growing the Supply Chain was an initiative of the VegNET project which BFVG implements in the Wide Bay Burnett for vegetable growers. It is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Ltd (HIA) with vegetable grower levies and Australian Government funds.  The feedback provided by the fifteen growers that participated in the  tour demonstrated the value of this type of event for the horticulture industry.

Feedback from the growers – VegNET Industry Development Officer and tour coordinator, Michelle Haase, conducted evaluation with growers throughout the tour. The evaluation found that more than half of the growers considered the topics discussed at Koala Farms, Brisbane Produce Market and a brussel sprouts farm at Wilsons Pocket (east of Gympie) to be “highly informative and highly relevant”.

The opportunity to learn about the way Koala Farms manages staff was considered particularly valuable by growers. Koala Farms has invested significant time and resources into professional development opportunities for staff, and creating online training videos on harvesting and packaging practices.

These initiatives have been effective in reducing staff turnover and instrumental in ensuring consistency and excellence in propagating, harvesting and packaging practices.

AustSafe Super has been a major supporter of the Horticulture Industry for many years and this years sponsorship and participation in the bus tour allowed for some special treats along the way for participants including tickets to the third State of Origin Match!

Austsafe Super is the only Super fund that gives back to Rural and Regional Australia and BFVG are pleased to be associated with them.

BFVG thanks growers who took time away from their own farms to participate in the Growing the Supply Chain Bus Tour, Anthony and Dianne Staatz from Koala Farms, Ian from the brussel sprouts property at Wilson’s Pocket , staff at Brismark, AustSafe Super and the following organisations for visiting us along the way; Growcom, Horticulture Innovation Australia Ltd, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Syngenta and the Lockyer Valley Growers Incorporation.

Questions or Suggestions