Australian citrus sector seeks new direction


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Mike Knowles



Australian citrus sector seeks new direction

Inaugural board set to usher in new era for restructured Australian citrus industry from October 2008

Australian citrus sector seeks new direction

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Citrus Australia Ltd, the new company due to begin operating in October 2008 as part of a planned restructuring of the Australian citrus industry, has announced it is seeking seven inaugural directors, including four commercial growers and three independent directors.

According to Mark Chown, president of existing industry body Australian Citrus Growers (ACG), Citrus Australia Ltd will have "the ability to deliver professional services on a regional, national and global basis that is owned by and accountable to growers".

“We are seeking specific skills in commercial citrus production, packing, marketing or processing; law; finance; business management; corporate governance; and experience with supply chains involved in meeting consumer demand for food,” Mr Chown said.

The initial board of directors is being appointed by a director selection committee and will be endorsed at the first annual general meeting by grower members.

The restructuring of the Australian citrus industry follows an exhaustive three-year consultative review of its growth opportunities and grower support structures, as well as independent research by legal and financial experts. Grower industry bodies have been encouraged to move to a single integrated structure.

Citrus growers will be able to join Citrus Australia direct through an annual voluntary membership fee based on the area (hectares) or volume (tonnes) of citrus they manage. According to ACG, voting will reflect the grower members’ area or volume of production and hence their level of investment in the industry.

An Information Memorandum is set to be widely distributed in September, providing all necessary information for ACG’s voting delegates to wind up ACG and commence Citrus Australia Ltd, as well as membership application forms. “I am pleased to report strong interest with a number of applications already received,” Mr Chown added.

The Australian citrus industry is the largest fresh fruit exporter in the Australian horticultural industry. The major markets for Australian Navels are the US, Hong Kong and Malaysia. Australian Valencias are popular in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore, whilst the major markets for mandarins are Hong Kong, Indonesia, US and Japan.

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