Members of the Australian Fresh Produce Alliance (AFPA) have unanimously elected John Said as the organisation’s new chair.
Said succeeds LaManna Premier Group’s Anthony Di Pietro, who served as AFPA chair in 2021.
“While most in the industry thought 2021 could not be tougher than 2020, the changing environment as a result of Covid-19 created some of the toughest operating conditions in memory,” Said explained.
“Challenges with access to markets, labour and inputs have really pushed all producers to their limits. Under such difficult circumstances, I’d like to thank Anthony Di Pietro for his leadership of both the AFPA and the industry more broadly.”
Said co-founded leading vegetable grower-packer-marketer Fresh Select in 1993, and has overseen the expansion of the business for nearly 30 years. He currently serves as the company’s managing director.
In addition to his role at Fresh Select, Said has previously held roles on the PMA Global board and served as chair of PMA-ANZ.
Said noted that AFPA intends to place a renewed focus on gaining new and improved access to international markets for its members, while continuing to monitor workforce challenges in the sector.
“We’ve seen some really important workforce outcomes for industry over the past year, most notably the creation of the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme and the announcement of an Australian Agriculture Visa (Ag Visa),” Said explained. “These programmes, along with upcoming changes to the Horticulture Award are going to drive a structural change in the horticulture workforce.
“The structural adjustment to industry’s workforce now needs to play through and we need to shift focus on ensuring that fresh produce growers are able to access important, high value international markets to really grow the value of our sector.”