Australian research organisation Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIA) welcomed two new members to its board today (25 November) as the organisation enters its next phase of growth.
Paul Harker - with more than 20 years' retail experience including four years heading up the fresh produce buying team of one of Australia’s largest retailers, and Jenny Margetts - who has worked in the horticultural industry for more than 25 years in a range of roles across the supply chain, were elected board directors.
Selwyn Snell, an industry leader with more than four decades’ experience in the agriculture, biotech and life sciences industries, was appointed a further term as HIA chair. And Northern NSW grower Mark Napper was re-elected deputy chair.
HIA chair Snell welcomed the new board members and said he was honoured to be re-appointed. He also welcomed the re-appointment of Professor Rob Clark and Peter Wauchope. He also thanked retiring former directors David Moon and David Cliffe for their hard work and commitment, wishing them the best of luck in their future endeavours.
Snell said he was keen to work with fellow board members to continue to service the needs of the nation’s turf, nursery, fruit, vegetable, nut and cut flower growers.
“This is a really exciting time for the Australian horticulture industry. Growers have never been more innovative and there is so much technology coming online,” he said. “Consumers are also becoming increasingly health conscious so the consumption of fruit, vegetables and nuts is in the spotlight like never before."
He said on top of that, HIA is working hard with growers to identify and tap into new trade markets, with a number opening up in recent years. Snell said HIA has close to 600 projects in the research and development pipeline, and is in the process of delivering more than 100 marketing projects.
“Over the past year, Hort Innovation has driven a host of wins for industry including streamlined and strengthened health and safety audits to save growers time and money when accessing major supermarkets and key overseas trade markets," he said. "A dedicated Hort Innovation Centre for Robotics and Intelligent Systems has opened with world leading technology being developed to improve farm efficiencies, and commercialisation work underway. Last week with our partners, we also opened the world’s first sterile male Queensland fruit fly facility and we are on track to kerb the impact of the pest on Australian trade and food waste," he added.
“We are also driving the organisation’s largest ever horticulture recruitment drive with a multi-million co-investment into new university courses, internships, scholarships and leadership programmes."
The HIA board is charged with jointly managing A$120m in research, development and marketing activities across the horticulture industry each year with funding from the Australian government, grower levies and other sources.
The full board comprises: Selwyn Snell (chair), Paul Harker, Mark Napper (deputy chair), Stephen Lynch, Professor Rob Clark, Richard Hamley, Sue Finger, Jenny Margetts, and Peter Wauchope.