Michael Simonetta

Michael Simonetta

Michael Simonetta has been elected chair of the Australian Fresh Produce Alliance (AFPA).

Simonetta succeeds Costa Group’s Harry Debney, who has served in the role since the alliance formed in early 2019.

“During the past year, Harry Debney has been instrumental in leading the formation and creating a foundation of the AFPA. Harry has set up the AFPA for ongoing success and on behalf of the AFPA board, I would like to thank Harry for all his efforts over the past year,” Simonetta explained.

Simonetta has been CEO of Perfection Fresh, one of Australia’s largest growers and marketers of fruit and vegetables, for 30 years.

His company is one of 14 foundation members of the AFPA. The high-powered association is focused on providing a prominent and respected voice on major issues involving the production, supply and sustainability of fresh produce for Australian consumers and export markets.

“We (AFPA) have only been in operation for one year and have achieved a number of outcomes including holding regular retail roundtables with major retailers to discuss packaging and food waste; creating a reference group made up of our HR General Managers to further industry employment issues; and producing a white paper outlining a strategy to grow the value of the fresh produce industry to A$20bn by 2030,” Simonetta said.

Simonetta appointment signals the beginning of a busy year for the AFPA, which will continue to work on a range of industry-wide issues, including employment, packaging, food waste, recycling and ongoing efforts to improve trade and market access for Australian produce.

“The AFPA has been an industry leader on cross horticulture issues that really matter to horticulture producers over the past 12 months,” Simonetta said. “As a group we represent half the turnover of the Australian fresh produce industry and are looking forward to continuing to provide leadership on core industry issues.”