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vegetablesWAPresident’s ReportTHERE has been some relief with backpackers starting to travel to the northwest seeking employment on farms.
BY DAN KUZMICICH PRESIDENT, VEGETABLESWA
Roll on summer; it is time to heat things up.
Warm welcome to growers, stakeholders, and industry. The harvest season is coming to an end here in Carnarvon, and I am looking forward to a good rest by getting away from the farm for a while. Reflecting on this year’s season, the challenges of labour shortage have worn thin again this year. Growers are finding their way through this challenge, but it has taken its toll physically and mentally. There has been some relief with backpackers starting to travel to the northwest seeking employment on farms — and growers have taken to social media (Gumtree and Facebook) to attract backpackers to this region with some success.
Competition for workers is still at a high level; hospitality and mining sectors are the main competitors, and then, when you throw in the lack of accommodation in this region, it just gives us another headache!
Prices overall have been good all season, but there have been major challenges for growers to produce a premium product for the market. Viruses have infected a few vegetable plant varieties around the region (capsicum, rock melon, watermelon), which has resulted in lower numbers picked all season. This is not good for the growers considering the high cost of inputs, which is still a talking point amongst industry.
I was fortunate enough to attend the Donnybrook Food and Wine Festival Long Table Lunch on Saturday, October 1. vegetablesWA team members took part in the event as the association was a sponsor, and the event was an overall success. The event gave me the opportunity to catch up with people within industry, to which, most talking points were water and input costs (fertiliser).
Vegetable prices overall have been good all season.I spoke with a person named Gary from the beef industry about bio-minerals and how beneficial this practice was, and it turned out he has been working closely with my local agronomist Scott Brain.
Growers, if you want to find out more about the benefits of bio-minerals, contact Michael Bartholomew at vegetablesWA Office. Michael has been working with Scott on this subject.
The Mid West and Gascoyne Major Projects Conference was held on October 18–19 in Geraldton and I was invited to attend as a guest speaker for the horticultural sector. The event was very well put together and represented by all industries. This event gave me the opportunity to catch up with all the major players within the Gascoyne Region. One that particularly stood out as I was listening to the guest speakers was Michael Edwards (CEO) from Gascoyne Gateway. Michael has been working on a major project, Gascoyne Gateway deep-water port, which is located 10km south of Exmouth township. Michael has approached me to discuss the potential of exporting out of this port. I told Michael that he presented very well and that I was thinking the same during his presentation — we discussed things in general and exchanged contact details for further meetings on this matter. Information from these meetings will be accessible to our members via the vegetablesWA newsletter.
By now everyone has heard that our Agricultural Minister Hon Alannah MacTiernan has resigned from the role and politics in general. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Minister MacTiernan for her efforts and great working relationship with vegetablesWA. I have worked closely with the Minister over the years in my role as Chairperson of vegetablesWA and appreciated her help here in the Gascoyne region too.
Dr Willian Ryan (Bill), the Chairperson of The Agricultural Produce Commission, has finished his term and I would like to thank him and wish him the best as he moves on to bigger and better things.
Bill has been a great support to me and vegetablesWA over his term and has provided a very good working relationship with us, for that we thank you Bill.
Ingrid Behr, the former APC manager (CEO), has decided to retire and move on to follow her passion. Ingrid has been such a great go-to person when needed and has always had a great relationship with vegetablesWA. She always conducts herself very professionally in the role. I wish Ingrid all the absolute best for the future and a big thank you from all of us here at vegetablesWA.
A huge thank you to Truyen Vo for his professional service over these years.
Truyen Vo, our field Extension Officer, is also moving on after providing excellent service to our members for over 10 years! His skillset and personality will be missed by everyone here at vegetablesWA. So, a huge thank you to Truyen for his professional service over these years.
On finishing this report, I would like to wish all our members, stakeholders, and entire industry a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year! Until next year, stay safe everyone! MORE INFORMATIONContact Dan Kuzmicich on 0408 910 761 or email firstname.lastname@example.org