Grow­com col­umn

The Western Star - - RURAL WEEKLY - DAVID THOMSON Grow­com CEO

IN AS­SO­CI­A­TION with the Queens­land Straw­berry Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, Grow­com has ap­pointed Lana Baskerville as the straw­berry in­dus­try re­cov­ery of­fi­cer to as­sist grow­ers and the broader Queens­land straw­berry in­dus­try sup­ply chains.

Ms Baskerville’s ap­point­ment forms part of the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment’s $1 mil­lion Straw­berry In­dus­try Sup­port Pack­age, an­nounced in Septem­ber.

Over the next cou­ple of months, Ms Baskerville will meet with straw­berry grow­ers from dif­fer­ent re­gions across Queens­land to gather a clear pic­ture of the in­dus­try and bet­ter un­der­stand grower needs.

She aims to con­nect them with avail­able sup­port pack­ages rang­ing from low in­ter­est loans, to farm debt re­struc­tur­ing as­sis­tance, fi­nan­cial coun­selling, work­force sup­port and per­sonal well­be­ing ser­vices.

These sup­port pack­ages will go a long way to­wards safe­guard­ing the rep­u­ta­tion of Aus­tralian fruit and restor­ing con­fi­dence among grow­ers, who are al­ready fo­cused on get­ting cur­rent har­vest to mar­ket or plan­ning for next sea­son.

It is clear the qual­ity, in­tegrity and fresh­ness of lo­cal straw­ber­ries is not the is­sue but we must en­sure they safely ar­rive for sale in the same con­di­tion as when they left the farm.

We are grate­ful for the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment’s spe­cial con­tri­bu­tion of $150,000 to help us and the QSGA to as­sist grow­ers with the on­go­ing re­sponse and re­cov­ery. Their sup­port in launch­ing the Queens­land’s sum­mer straw­berry sea­son at Ap­plethorpe in the Gran­ite Belt last week has as­sured lo­cal con­sumers that our grow­ers’ fruit is safe, sweet and de­li­cious.

We would also like to thank the wider com­mu­nity for con­tin­u­ing to buy straw­ber­ries and get­ting be­hind Queens­land grow­ers in re­cent months.

Due to con­tin­ued con­sumer con­fi­dence, the straw­berry in­dus­try’s con­tri­bu­tion to the state econ­omy for 2017–18 is fore­cast to be val­ued at $160 mil­lion.

Grow­com is proud to be an ad­vo­cate for Queens­land’s straw­berry in­dus­try, which in­cludes about 100 straw­berry grow­ers, who pro­duce up to 30,000 tonnes each sea­son, count­ing for about 40 per cent of Aus­tralia’s an­nual straw­berry pro­duc­tion.


STRAW­BERRY FIELDS FOR­EVER: Lo­cals haven’t been de­terred by the straw­berry cri­sis, with peo­ple still buy­ing them come rain, hail or shine.


Grow­com has ap­pointed Lana Baskerville as the straw­berry in­dus­try re­cov­ery of­fi­cer.

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