Many locals near me with generations of experience and long memories of hardships on the land have described the last summer as the worst in memory, and the autumn and winter to follow as one of the best. It’s reassuring that this is a fairly wide-spread experience in many olive growing regions around the country.
Now, as pruning continues and spray programs commence, the march towards flowering is nearing. The hope for good fruit set and a subsequent voluminous harvest in 2021 is a positive outlook which we all need.
COVID19 is still the dominant problem we are facing, with wide ranging implications from labour and contractor movements, border closures and lockdowns, and the need for COVID19-safe workplaces, to restricted and diminished markets. The AOA has aimed to assist both members and the wider industry by providing, where possible, the essential information you require to continue operating in these difficult circumstances.
Our webinar series continues to be very well received, giving growers and producers valuable resources and information to improve productivity and quality. The format of the webinars is how we will deliver our “virtual” conference this year. I’m confident you will agree the AOA team has put together a great program for this important annual event. Our AGM will also be held via Zoom, giving our members an easy way to engage with our organisation.
Recently I and other directors have been participating in Plant Health Australia workshops, ensuring preparedness and awareness of the processes to deal with any exotic pests and disease incursion. Real life experiences of the citrus and chestnut industry responses were used as case studies in the workshops. This valuable knowledge and experience is ensuring we are able to best look after our own should an outbreak occur in our industry.
The AIOA competition is culminating with the judging process in the coming weeks. We are looking forward to the well-deserved accolades which follow awards earned by those that have been able to produce outstanding products, particularly under such very difficult circumstances. Good luck to all those who have been able to enter exhibits this year.
The Health Star Rating System Review has been finalised with a disappointing result of the status quo prevailing. However, we are determined to continue towards the next review in five years, with a sound approach to ensure the national dietary guidelines are truly representative of the health and dietary benefits that EVOO provides to all consumers.
Representing our interests to government, AOA submissions on FTAs remain active, as do our contributions to the CODEX processes, ensuring quality and freshness parameters continue to be internationally recognised.
I’m looking forward to seeing you - albeit remotely - next month at the conference.
Good health to all.