The Australian Fresh Fruit Company (AFFCO), the country's leading network of fruit companies, has organized two events for the first half of 2010 aimed at improving the skills of young members of the horticulture industry.
On 18 January Huonville in Tasmania will play host to an event entitled ‘Young Blocks 4 Young Growers - ORGANIC' that will be held at the property of leading organic apple grower Andrew Smith and the packhouse of cherry producer Hansen Orchards.
AFFCO project coordinator Sally Piper said a recent survey identified that more than 80 per cent of respondents were moving towards organic production.
The second event is the inaugural AFFCO Young Members Retreat, a workshop with lectures, case studies and group discussions with highly respected guest presenters.
Some of the issues addressed at the workshop will be leadership skills, strategic thinking, team building, succession planning, business management and employment law.
The retreat will be held at Chateau Yering in Yarra Glen, Victoria, from 5-7 May 2010.
The problem of an ageing workforce has emerged in the Australian agriculture industry over recent years, with a 2008 study showing that 35.8 per cent of workers in the sector were aged 55 or over.
In 2008, the sector of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing had the highest median age of the 19 broad employment categories across Australia and New Zealand (48 as opposed to 37 across the other sectors).