On Message: Comms team take on new project

It’s a case of out with the old, in with the new for the Australian Banana Growers’ Council Communications Project.

While one project wrapped up at the end of June this year (BA15005), the ABCG successfully tendered for its successor (BA18001) and will continue to deliver a range of valuable information and resources to the banana industry.

The new three-year project (BA18001) again will be funded by Hort Innovation, using the banana research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government, and will continue to be led by Communication’s Manager Sonia Campbell (based at South Johnstone) with the assistance of Senior Communications officer Amy Spear (based at ABGC’s head office in Brisbane).

The experienced team has a strong track record ensuring industry is kept up-to-date with new and existing R&D and other industry development activities through a variety of effective mediums.

“It’s been such a busy three years, where we have bore witness to both industry ups and (sadly) downs,” Communications Manager Sonia Campbell said.

“There are obvious challenges facing our industry, but it’s such a vibrant sector that we are very excited to be tasked with continuing to deliver communications’ activities to banana growers at large and other key industry stakeholders,” she said.

As with the previous project, BA18001 will seek to facilitate the adoption and awareness of latest R&D, provide information & knowledge on industry events, updates and investments, and inform growers and others in the supply chain about critical issues relevant to the banana industry.

The program also aims to increase the adoption of industry’s Best Management Practice (BMP), increase knowledge of emerging risks and opportunities, and foster an environment that promotes continued innovation, improvement and productivity.

“With today’s technology, we can deliver timely and effective communications to growers on a daily, and even, minute-to-minute basis, including e-bulletins, social media updates, SMS alerts and constant updates to the ABGC website,” Ms Campbell explained.

“As a team, we also produce the Australian Bananas magazine three times per year, prepare media releases, communicate directly with journalists addressing all media enquiries as they come to hand, compile mailouts and are continually updating all ABGC databases.

“In addition to these day-to-day roles, you’ll find us regularly meeting with growers, assisting at workshops, conducting media training, producing video content and attending grower focused events.

“When all is done, we want to ensure everyone has access to the information they need to ensure a strong future for both their business and the industry more broadly.”

Throughout the course of the project, the Communications Team has either met or greatly exceeded their project requirements and have constantly strived to improve even further.

Highlights over the last period of the project have included Ms Campbell presenting media training to up-and-coming future horticulture leaders in Canberra, strong issues of the Australian Bananas magazine, assisting Biosecurity Queensland with TR4 awareness in high risk zones and, of course, work on Congress 2019 (BA17003).

The new project, which began at the start of July, will continue these core activities with a focus on supporting sustainability, profitable production and strong supply chains, which consistently deliver a valued and quality product to the consumer.

“Our Communications Officer, Amy Spear, and I are always keen to hear from growers about issues affecting them and how they can best access industry information.

“Please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give either of us a call, message us on Facebook or sign up to our regular e-bulletins to stay in the loop and have your say.

“If you know of anyone in the banana industry who is not receiving this Australian Banana magazine, please ask them to contact us to go on the mailing list.”