Australia: Queensland grape event to look at value adding

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Australia: Queensland grape event to look at value adding

Queensland's annual grape conference GrapeConnection 2012 is set to take place in Brisbane on Aug. 30-31, with a variety of topics and an opportunity for growers to network with each other and buyers.

GrapeConnect Chair Richard Lomman told different talks would put emphasis on how growers can make improvements for their returns.

"I think for most growers the important issue at the moment is about getting realistic returns for their product, and it's like that with most commodity groups, that they're not getting more for their product than they were 20 years ago," he said.

"But consumers are still paying what they were 20 years ago, so there's a leakage somewhere, whether it's in the packaging or the supermarkets.

"We have good seasons and bad seasons, which is weather-related and beyond our control - we accept that - but when there's a good product and you're not getting the returns you should be, it's tough."

He said there should be between 80-100 attendees at the event.

The keynote address will come from Fresh Produce Marketing founder and contributing columnist Lisa Cork, who will discuss packaging, trends and opportunities for the future.

Friday’s agenda will also include presentations from experts on business planning, industry marketing and promotion, chemical and pest updates and how growers can be involved in the Pacific Seasonal Labour Program.

"The agenda is very exciting this year, covering topics that will be of interest to all table grape growers," Lomman said in a press release.

"This is a great opportunity for the table grape community to come together, share ideas, learn about current trends and plan for the future. I strongly encourage all growers, marketers and wholesalers to make the time to attend."

A pre-conference tour and industry dinner is planned for Thursday, Aug. 30. During the tour growers will be guided through the Amcor Fibre Packaging site at Rocklea, which is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere producing more than one million cartons per day.

Growers will also be taken through the Lindsay Australia head office to get a better understanding of how they operate.

The Food Connect Foundation's Robert Pekin will be speaking at the industry dinner, discussing the importance of creating alliances between growers and distributors, and the significance of food security and how this will be influenced by resource constraints.

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