Australia and New Zealand’s largest horticulture conference and trade gears up for another “massive” edition as the fresh produce industry prepares to come together

Hort Connections is set to return to Melbourne on 3-5 June at the Melbourne Convention Centre in what promises to be another impressive edition.

More than 3,300 delegates are anticipated to attend from across the entire supply chain, with the trade show host to 200 exhibitors and over 40 expert speakers discussing the big issues facing the industry on the conference programme.

Ausveg national manager – events and partnerships Nathan McIntyre said Hort Connections is a must-attend event.

“The Hort Connections trade show continues to build, and this year we are excited to deliver our largest-ever exhibition. The growth of the event cements Hort Connections as the largest conference and trade show for the horticulture industry in the Southern Hemisphere,” he said.

“The Hort Connections conference programme and affiliated events such as the Annual Vegetable Industry Seminar give attendees access to groundbreaking research and the latest trends from industry experts, and are an unparalleled opportunity to network with others in the Australian horticulture industry.”

Hort Connections has obtained funding from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to support grower attendance, which McIntyre said allows more of the industry to take advantage of what the event has to offer.

“While it’s tough for many to be away from the farm, the Grower Funding programme is a great avenue for financial support to help growers access the many opportunities on offer at Hort Connections,” said McIntyre.

“After a challenging year in the horticulture sector, Hort Connections 2024 will be an important opportunity for growers and the broader industry to come together to share knowledge, hear from world-class speakers, network, and acknowledge the achievements that make horticulture great.

“Australian growers are forging ahead, embracing cutting-edge technology such as automation, big data and autonomous vehicles. Global agriculture technology providers are responding, and we see that in a Hort Connections 2024 exhibitor list that includes many of the largest ag-tech businesses in the world.”

The speaker programme is packed full of more than 40 exciting and informative speakers spread across two days and multiple stages. Highlights include the Plenary Sessions on 5 June, which feature the State of the Industry Panel, plus Craig Emerson Independent Reviewer, Food and Grocery Code of Conduct. The always popular Perfection Fresh Breakfast returns on 4 June.

“This year’s Perfection Fresh Breakfast will be headlined by our keynote speaker Lucy Bloom, the former chief executive of Sunrise Cambodia and Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia,” said McIntyre. “The Perfection Fresh Breakfast is always very well attended, and is a fantastic way to dive into the three days of networking and learning that Hort Connections offers.”

The event will finish on the evening of 5 June with the Hort Connections Gala Dinner which features the presentation of the Horticulture Awards for Excellence including the 2024 Seeka Marketer of the Year Award.

“The Hort Connections Gala Dinner is a great way to finish the event, it is a chance to come together and celebrate some of the outstanding achievements within our industry,” said McIntyre.