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Joe Craggs, Tropical Pines and PMA A-NZ Chairman

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PMA A-NZ Chairman’s Address 2017

Tuesday, 19 December 2017
PMA A-NZ Media Release

PMA A-NZ has now been in existence for 8 years as the first stand-alone global affiliate of the Produce Marketing Association and we continue to grow in stature and in our influence in the organisational landscape in the Australian and New Zealand fresh produce industries.

Over the past year, we have gone through a number of large changes that are all focused on the success and sustainability of PMA A-NZ in the long run. This has included some significant changes in our events and our interaction with members, the development of a new strategic plan based on member input, a change in staff and a move of office. None of these changes would have been possible without the support of the PMA A-NZ membership, and I think it’s fitting that we thank you for your ongoing support and participation.

Perhaps the most significant and obvious of these changes was with our major event and annual conference. PMA Australia New Zealand, in collaboration with AUSVEG, held the inaugural Hort Connections event in Adelaide. The event exceeded all expectations not only on numbers of delegates and exhibitors, but also with the positive vibe that was noted by all involved.

With the support of our sponsors, exhibitors and delegates, we are continuing the partnership with AUSVEG and we look forward to bringing Hort Connections to Brisbane from 18 -20 June in 2018. We look forward to seeing you there!

Attracting, developing and retaining talent remains a very important focus for PMA A-NZ. In addition to the continuation of the very successful Career Pathways Scholarship Program, Mark Blue Scholarship, and the Produce Executive Program we saw the Produce Development Program grow to fill a gap and provide a valuable link in the development of future leaders in the A-NZ fresh produce and floral industries.

This year we have continued to provide leadership in the area of science and technology, in particular in food safety. Much of our work in this space is through partnerships, of particular note at a local ANZ level being our ongoing relationship with the Fresh Produce Safety Centre, but we also collaborate more globally through engagement such as our ongoing active membership of the International Federation for Produce Standards. We have also recognised that we need to be more forward looking in our activities in the science and technology space generally. We saw that we can play a role for members in identifying the new or disruptive technologies on the horizon or in early adoption, and commenced delivering events and other opportunities that target this this. We see a real ability to deliver value to members here by exposing new ideas, connecting technology suppliers with technology users and effectively reducing member’s search costs.

We have also continued to work in the pillar of demand creation. We have noted that as consumer demands change, the need of our members to innovate also grows. This has led us to review what we are doing in this space. The result of this has been to focus on how we can assist our members in appreciating the value of marketing in the fresh produce and floral industries by inviting your marketers to join, share and collaborate. We are excited by this new direction and over the next few months our team will begin to pilot programs focused on the refreshed demand creation strategy.

As all our members are automatically members of PMA Global, we continue to work closely with PMA in providing the best global networking opportunities, talent programs and science and technology advancements to our members here in Australia and New Zealand. Our partnership with PMA, through our Affiliate Agreement, is an important differentiator for PMA A-NZ – no other organisation in Australia and New Zealand has access to such an array of global expertise and connections. We again acknowledge the support PMA provide to us.

I would now like to thank all the volunteers who play such an active role in our various Task Forces and on our Board. A critical component of the PMA ethos is its volunteerism and we would not be able to do what we do without the tireless involvement of the more than 40 volunteers from a broad cross-section of member-companies and in particular those on the Board, who give so much of their time and funds to further the interests of your organisation.
During the year, three Directors retired and I would like to acknowledge their contribution:

  • Charlotte Connoley, South Pacific Seeds.
  • Nicholas White, formerly of Gourmet Garden, and now with McCormick Foods
  • Andrew Francey, of OneHarvest

Thank you to Charlotte and Nicholas, it was a pleasure to work with you, and special thanks to Andrew whose contribution as Chairman of the PMA A-NZ board over the past 12 months has been critical to PMA A-NZ thriving through this time of change.

Our management team continues to drive our various programs to new levels and I would like to sincerely thank Darren, Richard, Renee and Jesse for their sterling work over the past year.

Finally, I would like to most sincerely thank all our members, especially our Platinum and Diamond members, plus all our other partners, sponsors and exhibitors for their considerable support over the past year. Your contribution to this organisation is greatly appreciated. I would also like to acknowledge those individuals who had the faith and funds to establish PMA A-NZ eight years ago. We are now mature enough to say that their vision has been achieved and are in a position to enter a new phase of service to our industry.

We keep building the scope and intensity of our various Programs and activities, so we urge all members to remain engaged and work with us, in whatever form, to make PMA Australia-New Zealand strong and highly relevant to our fantastic industry. With export markets growing fast and with more focus across our domestic markets on healthy eating, our industry is well placed for the coming decade and we at PMA A-NZ want to play our part in this exciting future.

Thank you and we wish you a successful 2018

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