New handbook to help citrus growers across Australia
CITRUS Australia has released a new handbook to help citrus growers during the season.
Author Steven Falivene, from the New South Wales DPI Citrus Development Office, said the book was to help ensure fruit it picked in the best possible manner to minimise breakdown and maximise pack-outs and export returns.
“We want to get grower and picker feedback over the coming harvest season so we can improve the guide and then finalise it in late spring 2016 so it can be printed by next season,” Mr Falivene said.
A video version of selected parts of the booklet will also be shot this season.
Mr Falivene said he thanked the many growers, pickers and packers that have contributed their ideas for the booklet.
“The booklet has been produced not only to help turn out top quality export fruit, but to also help pickers have a good experience, through faster picking tips, and continue picking in the long term,” he said.
Mr Falivene said he is continuing interviewing growers and pickers and already has new content to put in the next version of the book.
A PDF copy of the guide is available from all packers.
Pending funding, Mr Falivene said he planed to produce the booklet in a number of targeted Asian, European and Pacific Island languages and also prepare a complete video series in targeted languages.
“Many growers have the language barrier problem for both supervisors and pickers,” he said.
“Growers do not know if the supervisor has properly understood instructions and unsure if they have instructed their pickers correctly.”
Mr Falivene said he also proposed to collaborate with NSWDPI Tocal College to also develop an online picking course.
“This will ensure pickers will have the appropriate foundation skills to pick the crop,” Mr Falivene said.
“The Australian citrus export industry is based on growing high quality safe fruit and professionalism in production underpins this perception.
“The harvest guide and proposed video and training module to be developed by NSWDPI will provide stepping stones for the citrus industry to climb the ladder of quality.”