First hort industry panels appointed

Fourteen banana industry members, including nine growers, have been appointed to a new panel advising Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation) on investment strategies for industry levy funds.

The panel, called the Strategic Investment Advisory Panel, replaces the former Industry Advisory Committee and its two subcommittees which were disbanded last year as part of structural changes to Hort Innovation.

Eight of the new panel members will advise Hort Innovation on research and development (R&D) investment and six will advise on marketing.

The six banana growers and two researchers advising on R&D are North Queensland growers Cameron MacKay, Doug Phillips, Mark Nucifora and Matt Abbott, New South Wales growers David Tate and Stephen Spear and researchers Professor Andre Drenth from the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) and Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Principal Development Horticulturist Stewart Lindsay.

Three banana growers, two wholesalers and a marketer will advise on marketing. They are North Queensland growers Andrew Serra and Paul Inderbitzin, New South Wales grower Peter Molenaar, wholesalers Chaise Pensini from Nutrano Produce Group, Gary Fattore from Costa Group and marketer Daniel MacKay from Mackay’s Banana Marketing.

The banana industry panel is one of nine horticulture industry panels initially established by Hort Innovation. Others are almond, apple and pear, citrus, macadamia, mushroom, nursery, olive and onion, with more to be appointed.

Hort Innovation Chief Executive Officer John Lloyd said the completion of the nine panels marks the next phase in the corporation’s strategy to bolster industry output and returns.

“These panels will provide strategic advice to Hort Innovation on its investments in research and development, trade and marketing to increase productivity, farm gate profitability and the global competitiveness of Australian horticulture industries,” he said.

“With a strong mix of skills and experience, the panelists are well positioned to help ensure industry has access to the tools it needs to ensure the health of some of the nation’s key horticultural sectors for generations to come.”

Further information is available at the Hort Innovation website’s banana industry web page http://horticulture.