The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association (QSGA) is a member of the national peak industry body – Strawberries Australia Inc. From November 2019, there is a berry industry-wide Industry Development and Communication program being delivered by Berries Australia, on behalf of each berry industry association.
The Australian berry industry comprises three distinct sectors – strawberries, Rubus and blueberries – that have traditionally operated separately from each other in terms of research, development and extension. This separation just doesn’t reflect today’s industry as many growers grow more than one type of berry; many of the biosecurity and chemical access issues are similar and they occupy the same niche within the retail sector – the so-called ‘berry basket’. Also, a number of joint berry R&D programs currently being funded by Hort Innovation, or proposed for future investment, logically benefit from a shared extension platform.
So, it makes economic sense to join forces, but will it deliver more for levy payers? The answer to that question is a resounding yes. The focus of this project is to communicate best practice to all berry growers and improve their knowledge and skills to enable them to adopt R&D outcomes. A ‘whole of berries’ approach will improve efficiencies and allow for coordinated extension of the many cross-berry R&D projects as well as a platform for commodity specific project extension.
There will be more resources on the ground in the growing regions than ever before; there will be more valuable learning opportunities facilitated through workshops, field days and farm tours; and there will be regular communication of everything that is important for you to grow your business whether you are a family farm or part of a global corporation.
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