Managing and Implementing the National Potato Industry Communication Strategy
It is vital that potato growers within both the fresh and processed sectors of the industry are adequately equipped to meet challenges and understand the changes that need to be made within their operations in order to ensure increased profitability and sustainability. This requires Australian potato growers to be engaged in the industry R&D process – and have a strong understanding of the beneficial outcomes that stem from this – with the ultimate aim of growers adopting new R&D innovations into their own potato growing operations. The National Potato Industry Communications Strategy (PT09013) was undertaken to ensure that potato levy payers and other key industry stakeholders were provided with information regarding R&D outcomes and other relevant industry news, issues and data. The project commenced in January 2010 under the management of AUSVEG, and was a continuance of the previous national potato industry communications project which began in 2006 (PT05031 – The management and implementation of the national potato industry communication strategy). Throughout this project’s three-year lifespan, AUSVEG utilised a range of both traditional and contemporary communication tools to ensure that the communications strategy devised was implemented effectively and reached the widest possible target audience. This fulfilled the need that has been identified within the Australian potato industry for R&D information to be delivered to potato growers in a succinct, intelligible and practically-oriented manner, and which accommodated for differing levels of access to, and use of, various communications methods that are available and/or appropriate. As this project incorporated both the fresh and processed potato sectors, it was imperative that all communications activities undertaken accounted for the shared, as well as unique, issues affecting each of these sectors. The Australian Potato Research Program (APRP2), for instance, has been a significant research component of the Processed Potato Industry R&D program, and this project sought to increase the knowledge and awareness within the potato processing sector of APRP activities and outcomes. Communications activities relating to the processed potato sector were also supported by the Processed Potato Association of Australia (PPAA) via the Processed Potato Industry Advisory Committee (IAC). This project has fulfilled its aims by consistently providing potato levy payers with a broad range of information and delivered in ways that were accessible for all. An independent audit of this project conducted in the second year of the project’s lifespan confirmed the effectiveness and success of the project’s implementation, as did the unanimous support and endorsement of this project’s continuance (PT12004) from 2012-15, by both the Fresh and Processed Potato Industry Advisory Committees (IACs).