A group of nine female vegetable growers working in the Australian vegetable industry have recently returned from the first ‘Women in Horticulture’ Grower Study Tour, with all participants reporting that the tour was a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience.

AUSVEG – the National Peak Industry Body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers – led the tour throughout Italy and Israel for two weeks from 6 – 18 November 2012.

“These grower study tours are usually open to all vegetable levy payers, however, this recent tour was the first of its type to specifically target female growers who have historically not been active participants in grower tours within the vegetable industry,” said AUSVEG Spokesperson, Courtney Burger.

“Participants ranged in geographical diversity, coming from all corners of the country, and also in age, with women in their late 20s to early 50s taking part in the tour. Roughly half of the women work on-farm in the field on a daily basis and the other half work in the administrative side of their businesses in areas such as quality assurance and negotiating prices with wholesalers,” said Miss Burger.

“The tour provided the opportunity for potential new leaders in the vegetable industry to gain insight into international agriculture through a range of experiences, from attending one of the largest agriculture expos in the world in Italy, to visiting farms and research facilities in Israel.”

“The group attended the world-class machinery exhibition EIMA International Expo in Bologna, Italy, where the latest technology in machinery was featured and delegates were able to network with their international counterparts and be exposed to new innovations and techniques,” said Miss Burger.

EIMA is the largest machinery expo in Europe featuring 1,700 exhibitors from around the world including stands from John Deere, Netafim and Hortech.

“The second half of the tour was spent in Tel Aviv, Israel, where the participants had the opportunity to explore the experimental greenhouses of Netafim, a global irrigation company, and were privy to innovations such as rooftop and wall gardens,” said Miss Burger.

“In Israel, the group also visited the facilities of Makhteshim Agan, the parent company of Australian crop protectant manufacturer Farmoz, where they were given a history of Israel’s agriculture industry and learned invaluable advice from a company investing in developing new crop protectant options.”

“The resounding praise the participants have given the tour and the genuine benefit they received from attending means AUSVEG will definitely endeavour to lead a tour of this type again next year,” said Miss Burger.

This tour was funded by HAL using the National Vegetable Levy, voluntary contributions from industry and matched funds from the Australian Government.


MEDIA CONTACT: Courtney Burger – AUSVEG, Phone: (03) 9822 0388, Mobile: 0439 784 890, Email: courtney.burger@ausveg.com.au