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John Argiro has stepped down as chair and board member of the Australian Table Grape Association (ATGA).

In a letter to the ATGA board, Argiro cited “breaches to grower license agreements” as the reason behind his resignation. It is understood the matter relates to a recent case settled by Sun World International.

Argiro said he did not wish to subject the ATGA to “unnecessary scrutiny”.

“I support the role that Sun World and other plant breeders play in the industry, understanding the protection of their rights is paramount,” Argiro stated.

The ATGA board asserted it does not condone breaches of intellectual property (IP) or contractual rights. It accepted Argiro’s resignation, effective today (15 July).

“The role of proprietary breeders in developing new high-quality table grape varieties drives growth within the industry, fosters stronger market access and continued investment into innovation Australia-wide,” the ATGA board said in a statement.

“The ATGA board respects the right of commercial breeders to protect their varieties. The board does not condone infringements of IP and agreement rights. Australian table grape growers who lease or are licensed to grow IP protected varieties are well aware of their responsibilities.”

ATGA deputy chair Jeremey Boyd has been appointed acting chair. Boyd will lead the board until the ATGA’s November annual general meeting, at which point a chair will be elected.