Leading vegetable growers set to take on global challenge
Two vegetable growers were awarded Nuffield Australia Farming Scholarships for 2011 on Friday night, and will travel overseas next year to investigate innovative farming techniques, with the aim to bring back new information that will benefit the Australian industry.
The two vegetable growers who will receive scholarships in 2011 are:
– Scott Samwell – Mount Barker, SA
– Andrew Dewar – Clifton, QLD
AUSVEG spokesperson Andrew White said that leadership in the vegetable industry was particularly important right now, given the challenges growers are facing in terms of imports and rising input costs.
AUSVEG is the national peak industry body representing the interests of over 9,000 Australian vegetable and potato growers.
“Growers are doing all they can to break even at the moment and are looking for an edge in any area they can get it. Unfortunately, rising input costs are one of the biggest barriers that growers are facing to stay viable and compete with their international competitors, who’ve much lower input costs and can undercut the domestic market,” Mr White said.
“In the context of these global challenges facing growers, the research the scholars will be doing on their international study tours has the potential to provide a valuable contribution to the industry overall,” he said.
Mr White said the two growers would be looking into a range of relevant topics including soil and plant interaction and summer production of vegetables using shelter crops.
“In the future, food security will become a big issue with the growing global population, so a sustainable domestic fresh produce industry and research into ways the Australian industry can get better at what it does by learning from international producers becomes significant.”
Nuffield Australia awards scholarships each year with the aim to increase practical farming knowledge, techniques, and management skills. The scholarships afford Australian growers the opportunity to study farming practices in foreign countries, and the growers will bring the information they have learned back to Australia to share with the broader industry.
Mr Dewar plans to study summer production of vegetables, such as using shelter crops to manipulate the amount of daylight hours and heat a crop receives, water management, labour saving by mechanisation, as well as nursery seedling production.
Mr Samwell will study soil and plant interaction through researching the concept of ‘fusion farming’. Mr Samwell also plans to look at the level of inputs required in different systems and examine the level of benefit while reducing inputs.
Mr Samwell’s scholarship will be funded by the National Vegetable Levy and matched funds from the Federal Government, while Mr Dewar’s scholarship is sponsored by Woolworths. For further information about the winners or to request photos contact Andrew White on 03 9822 0388.
Information about the Nuffield program is available from www.nuffield.com.au.
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew White, Manager – VIDP Communications, AUSVEG
Ph: (03) 9822 0388, Mob: 0409 989 575, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org