This week four young growers participated in the first Next Generation Farmers workshop facilitated by Growcom.
The workshop was a three day event where the young growers were able to obtain a deeper understanding of issues surrounding Queensland’s horticultural industry.
Part of the program included a presentation from Australian information services company Nielson on fruit and vegetable trends.
According to Nielson’s pre-packaged fresh produce has recorded a 17 per cent growth rate over the past year while fresh produce sold loose has shown little or no growth. The two key strategies driving this growth are convenience and value adding.
Nielson’s data also indicates ‘senior couples’ are an increasing demographic segment of the market not only growing in size but also in value. Senior couples during the 2009/10 financial year consumed 20 per cent of the vegetable market in Australia. This increased to 20.6 per cent during the 2010/11 financial year.
The young growers were also presented with a range of ideas and commercial opportunities for value adding by Food Innovation Partners Russell Rankin.
Day two of the workshop included a visit to the Brisbane Markets and IGA Distribution Centre at Rocklea. The young growers spent the morning talking to wholesalers and Brisbane Markets staff on the issues they see are important.
The day ended with the Growcom Annual General Meeting and board meeting where the young growers were able to offer valuable ideas and input into some new projects under development.
The next stage of the project will see the young growers facilitate a networking event in their area. These will occur in the new year so stay tuned.
The project is funded through the federal Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries under the program Australia’s Farming Future. For more information contact Robert Hall on 07 3620 3844.