The Australian Mango Industry Association (AMIA) is confident that two major projects over the next five years will significantly help improve grower productivity and profitability.
AMIA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Brett Kelly says the projects, which were announced today, will integrate extension and communication to better foster innovation and build capability to maximise yield, optimise quality and create demand.
"The exciting thing for me is that the projects are in 'Best Practice' and Research and Development (R&D), so a lot of it is a continuation of a lot of the good work that has been done in the past three years," he said. "It will mean a lot more focus on-farm for our growers. Generally, across the board, they will see a lot more focus on better practice at farm level. It will also have a focus on a better understanding and working with the different varieties, taking into account the seasonality of the mangoes. Whether they are a large or smaller grower, there will be a lot more R&D and outcomes for better running their farms. Through working together on these initiatives, the AMIA, our research partners and Hort Innovation will continue to get great results for industry that tie into the Mango Strategic Investment Plan (2022-2026)."
Photo: AMIA Industry Development Officer Paige Liebich conducts NIR testing on mangoes to determine dry matter; one service that aids growers in their decision to pick.
These projects, totalling $2.7million, have been funded by Hort Innovation using the mango research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government and will be carried out by the national peak industry body for mangoes, AMIA. Mr Kelly notes that Australia has a lot of potential for domestic demand growth, and one of the key steps in reaching the potential is maintaining quality and ensuring consistency.
“Another exciting part of the project is that the AMIA has a very sound structure now,” he said. "We have two Industry Development Officers on the ground, as well as an Industry Development Manager, we have a Communications Manager and we work closely with Hort Innovation and their team. So, there is a really solid team and a consistent rotation and exposure to the growers so it will run right through the whole season. There are a number of individual project areas that will benefit our growers, but in a nutshell, getting a better understanding of the varieties and what affects them with things like flowering, and how to maintain the best quality - because understanding the fruit from that side of things, will continue the reputation that Australia has got for quality."
Photo: R2E2 fruit in Katherine.
The communication project will produce an industry magazine, newsletters, social media, and website content to keep industry up to date with the latest research, marketing, and other industry news.
"Communication is the key out of everything," Mr Kelly said. "It is one thing to do the projects and work together but you really need to have good communication the whole time, so that our farmer/growers are up to date, sharing information, receiving the training that they need, and attending workshops. I think the level of communication that already comes out is excellent, and it will only continue to improve, as the more we improve, the more consistency we will get with growers accessing the information they need to know to do their jobs."
Photo: AMIA CEO Brett Kelly with Farm Manager Dale McDonald from Nutrano in Katherine.
Hort Innovation Head of Extension, Jane Wightman, said during the recent Strategic Investment Plan (2022-2026) renewal consultations, the Australian mango industry advised it valued its extension program and prioritised its continuation.
“The Australian Mango Industry has high aspirations for improved domestic and international demand and increased profitability, efficiency, and sustainability,” she said. “These aspirations are founded on the generation and use of research and development, the benefits of which are maximised through an innovative culture, fostering continuous improvement and proactive risk management."
One of the first activities of both projects is to form a joint project reference group (PRG). This group will be instrumental in guiding the project teams and activities over the next five years. Australian Mango Industry stakeholders that are interested in joining the PRG, should look out for an Expression of Interest, in AMIA’s industry communication."
Industry stakeholders who do not already subscribe can do so via: https://www.mangoconnect.com.au