2019 has seen the first phase of APAL’s five-year Industry Strategy to rebuild export excellence, build industry intelligence and data, lift industry capability, and bolster sustainability. Philip Turnbull, APAL’s CEO, says: “There’s undoubtedly a long way to go, but it’s important to recognize and celebrate some of the milestones that indicate we’re headed in the right direction”
Backed by grower demands for an industry-inclusive marketing strategy and structure, the 2019 establishment of a Strategic Marketing Panel (SMP) represents a fundamental shift in the way marketing levy will be invested in the future.
Meeting for the first time in October, the Strategic Marketing Panel (SMP) now comprises APAL, Hort Innovation, as well as industry and FMCG marketing expertise. Selected through a competitive process, Cameron Carter – Seeka Australia, Mitchell McNab – HV McNab & Sons Orchards and Nardia Stacy – Executive Manager, PomeWest, will provide next-generational industry input to the SMP.
Based on reports of growers and packhouse managers suddenly finding themselves ‘uninsurable,’ an early priority for Future Business has been to conduct a feasibility study into self-insurance structures, such as a Discretionary Mutual Fund, to help control and manage burgeoning insurance costs. Work will continue into 2020 as APAL consider the appropriateness of this model.
Growers at the center
Once an area of under-investment for APAL, industry advocacy shifted up the proverbial gear this year, funded by the proceeds of APAL’s commercial business. Access to water, a National Netting Program, reforms to visas, biosecurity and extensive work to improve market access, have all received positive engagement from growers and government alike, and APAL will keep pressure on these schemes well into the new year.
In addition to the new Young Leaders’ Network and refreshed Industry Forum and Grower R&D Update events, APAL has been working steadily to secure growers a higher return for Australia’s most-produced apple. The premium, pre-pack concept aims to differentiate ‘export quality’ Pink Lady® apples from everyday Pink Lady in the domestic market. Sub-branded “John’s Pick”, the pilot debuted in 41 select Coles stores for a six week pilot this spring.
Turnbull says: “On the brink of a new decade, I am certain of one thing: 10 years from now, the apple and pear industry will operate completely differently. Climate change, artificial intelligence, robotics, big data and genomics will have completely transformed the way we work today. Whether this is good or bad, profitable or not, will be up to all of us – growers, packhouses, researchers, exporters and us here at APAL – to determine.”