After years of slogging away to get the message out there about the benefits of a Primary Producers Business Centre for all Riverland and Mallee farmers and horticulturists, it seems the process is lurching forward. In recent weeks, leaders of the almond industry and the broadacre farming community have met with grape growers and irrigators to continue working to make the dream a reality. Riverland Wine EO said “It’s been a long journey from the earliest suggestions way back in 2006 with a lot of people contributing, time, money, ideas and suggestions along the way. Government has been very interested and helpful but there have been times when the handballing between bureaucrats and primary producers has almost derailed the initiative. The dual challenge of raising public awareness to broaden support and agreeing management and funding structures has been significant but we are slowly distilling the wheat from the chaff”.
He added, “It’s a mighty task to gather these different (silo) groups together and then to have them singing the same tune but with plenty of good will and patience it is increasingly obvious this is the smartest way to go for this region’s primary wealth generators”. He also acknowledged that without the allocation of $7.5M from the MDB Funds for the redevelopment of the Loxton Research Centre, it could not happen.
If we are to tackle the challenges of global markets, ongoing research development and extension, achieving optimum production and encouraging diversification, we must work together, share knowledge, share research projects, and help each other to better outcomes in every aspect of farming, just as we do in operating all our other shared community assets.
The commodity group representatives will meet in the second week of April to listen to each other’s suggestions about management and funding. New group member, Robin Schaefer, brought a new enthusiasm to the group and summed up saying, “we are talking to each other about synergy”. That’s right Robin and if we get the harmonies working as well, the community will make it happen.