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News updates for Passionfruit Growers
March 2022
Hi <<First Name>>,

Welcome to the latest news brought to you by the team at Passionfruit Australia Inc.  


We are currently without a levy-funded Communication Program so PAI will continue to provide relevant news updates at it's own cost until a new program can be arranged by Hort Innovation.

If you're not currently a member, please consider supporting your industry association which is staffed by volunteers and advocates on your behalf. Join PAI NOW

Brought to you by:
in this edition...

Industry News

Australian News


Industry Training & Events 

 

Industry Newsletters

  • Read a selection of current industry newsletters, from Plant Heath Australia (PHA), Queensland Farmers Federation (QFF) & Department of Agriculture & Fisheries (DAF)  

 

Covid-19 Updates, Support & News


Included this month:
  • National update
  • Covid-19 Restriction Checker
  • National Support - Getting help during Coronavirus (Covid-19)
  • State Updates

Recipe

President's Message

 

It has been pleasing to see a growing number of new members joining PAI. We welcome all new and existing members to the latest edition of your industry newsletter. Any feedback or contributions you would like to provide would be very welcome through the secretariate. You will find Wendy very helpful in responding to your queries and sharing your contributions.

Whilst we are starting to learn to live with Covid at both farm and market level, 2022 continues to present external challenges to our industry. Many of our growers have been suffering the problems arising from the prolonged period of above average rainfall and, in the worst cases, flooding. Closed roads have cut farm access in many cases and the closure of the Pacific Highway made transport to southern markets difficult. In the Tweed region our major transport operators suffered inundation of their depot that put them out of action for more than a week. Your Committee’s thoughts are with all growers who have been affected during these rainfall events.

International events are also having an effect, particularly through significant price rises for diesel. This impacts on farm costs and transport costs for produce and farm inputs. Coupled with the increase in costs of farm chemicals these imposts will further draw on our need to continuously improve the way we operate our businesses.

More stringent food safety, biosecurity and traceability requirements will also need our industry’s attention as initiatives and regulations evolve to satisfy increasingly complex seller and consumer standards. Your Committee and Secretariate is particularly monitoring developments in product traceability to understand the impacts that proposed changes may have on grower operations.

PAI is currently reviewing options to maintain and improve communications with our members following the completion of the levy funded communications project in September last year. PAI is very conscious of the value growers derived from attendance at our regional field days so particular attention is being given to organising such events in the second half of the year.
Best regards,

Dennis Chant
Current Disaster Assistance
Queensland & New South Wales Rainfall and Flooding, 22 February - 7 March 2022.
The Commonwealth Government has made a range of assistance measures available to communities impacted by the 2022 flooding event in Queensland and New South Wales. These include:    
  • Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment
  • Disaster Recovery Allowance
  • Disaster Recovery Funding arrangements (including Primary Producer Recovery Grants)
Click here to jump to the Australian Government National Recovery & Resilience Agency webpage for more information.

NSW:
Additional assistance measures for primary producers are available for eligible areas. To apply for a concessional loan or freight subsidy, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593.

Primary producers should report flood-related damage including damage to crops, fencing and other farm infrastructure through the Natural Disaster Damage Survey. on the Department of Primary Industrys' (DPI) website.

Further Support for NSW farmers and primary producers after floods can be found on the NSW Government website here

QLD:
Grants of up to $75K are available for affected producers to hire or purchase equipment and materials, clean up, remove debris, replace fencing and other costs associated with the recovery process in South East Queensland. To read the guidelines and make an application, visit the QRIDA website HERE or contact QRIDA on 1800 623 946.

The Emergency Hardship Assistance Grant is available to Queenslanders who have been affected by recent natural disasters. This grant will help you with personal items you need if you’ve lost everything in the recent floods, more here.
Applications for Emergency Hardship Assistance as a result of the February 2022 south-east Queensland rainfall and flooding event are closing soon

Flood impacted farmers in SEQ can inform DAF of damage and losses via a survey available HERE. The information provided will ensure the department is able to capture relevant information required to prepare applications for assistance more quickly to support recovery. Alternatively, call or DAF customer service centre on 13 25 23. 
 
Details of financial assistance currently available for natural disasters can be found on the DAF website here 
Grower Report Snapshot - QLD

Far North Queensland - Cynthia & Dale Barbagallo, Mareeba

Hello again from North Queensland.
 
Thankfully we have been fortunate to have a few wonderful months here in North Queensland with some beautiful warm weather and some lovely sunny days. We have received some bountiful rain and thankfully not had any damaging cyclones or large floods this wet season. And although I would like to sigh in relief, I witness our Southern growers once again get hammered with devastating rain and floods, a reminder that our wet season is not yet over. 
 
We have been busy here on our farm, recently removing our old vines, an ever challenging and dreaded task, and have now finished planting our new vines for this season. I always love this stage in the growing season when the orchard is clean and fresh and the vines are bursting with new life. With it brings the prospect of a new and promising season.
 
As we continue to work towards more sustainable farming, Dale has been busy becoming more familiar with microbes, cover crops and soil health and how our applications of chemicals and fertilizers directly impact these. I recently attended our local high schools open day and visited the almost non-existent agriculture department, and despite loathing agriculture studies in high school (as I always thought it would never be relevant to my future), I was surprised to learn that there was very little taught on the benefits of sustainable farming in agriculture. Thankfully there is some wonderful organisations out there that specialize in this field and we also now have the internet, YouTube and Podcasts and there is a wealth of information out there for us to tap into. A very successful farmer told me once, “Whether you are new to farming or you have been farming for forever, you will never stop learning, so always be open and willing to learn, and that will be your key to success”. And so…I will endeavour to heed his wisdom.
 
Now that we have our borders open and events are less restricted, I hope to see you all at a Field-day one day soon.


Sunshine Coast - Jim & Jill Gordon, Yandina

The Sunshine Coast has seen more than enough rain for a while. I don't remember the last time I turned on the irrigation pump.

I'm sure that there are a couple of exceptions, but I think we came out of the big wet reasonably unscathed compared to some areas further north and of course the Northern NSW growing region. Even as I write this, there are flood warnings for Lismore and surrounds. Good luck down there.
 
The biggest problem we have at the moment is disease and phythothora. Many of our older vines have died off prematurely and the younger ones aren't thriving like they normally would at the end of Summer. I suspect our carton numbers will be well down this Autumn/ Winter. The only good thing is the price, which has been quite good for a while despite the ordinary quality of the fruit. (speaking for myself). No matter how much spraying I have done in the past few months, I haven't been able to keep the fruit clean. There were a couple of times when I hadn't even parked the spray tractor, and down came the rain again.


There hasn't been much fruit for a while here, but hopefully by just after Easter we will be busy again. I’m sure it will fine up again soon, and I will probably be looking for rain by the time I do my next report.
Good luck for the coming season.

Thank you to our growers for their reports
Next month we hope to feature more growing regions. If there are any PAI members that would like to contribute, please email comms@passionfruitaustralia.org.au

Market Report - March 2022

SYDNEY - Aidan Hutton, JE Tipper
0419 700 278

Purples: The serious weather events we encountered in the first half of the month in SEQ & Northern NNSW put everything at a standstill… Farmers were unable to get on farm, unable to process, logistics & transport services were impeded. We saw mass shortages of fruit as a result. The second half of March brought a little more consistency and stability, prices around $60-$70/box.

I really sympathise with the growers, being faced with such unforeseen challenges and I hope people can get back on their feet.
 
Panamas: Pretty consistent supply of Panama through the month, with trucks coming down the New England Highway from North QLD. Credit to the growers…quality has been excellent. Fairly consistent pricing through the month $45-$50/box. Steady flow of fruit towards the back of the month.
 

BRISBANE - Sean Russell, JE Tipper
0418 158 331

Purples & Panamas: Understandably, supply of black passionfruit has been very low this month. The eating quality has been very good. As for Panamas, there has been a fair bit of fruit around, selling $30-$45/box. Eating quality and supply has been good & steady. Some warmer weather would encourage tropical fruit sales. Feeling for all the growers and supply chain who are doing it tough right now.
 

MELBOURNE - Jason Miles, Ten Farms
0427 248 067
 
Purples: With volumes of purples down at the start of the month due to the extreme weather, price has been accepted well and holding at around $70-$85/carton.
 
Hoping for some warmer weather and for all to stay safe in these extreme times.

Panamas: We are seeing a bit more volume of panama/pandora around. Quality has been good and we see the price hold between $45-$60 a carton. 
 
Our thanks to Sean, Aidan & Jason for their market reports.
Marketing Update

image credit: @aussiepassionfruit

With a raft of new inspirational content created by food photographer Bonnie Coumbe and food stylist Trish Heagerty, awareness and consideration for Australian Passionfruit continued in February. Three delicious new recipes, as well as lifestyle images of passionfruit were shot, and this content will be gradually shared across Instagram and Facebook and housed on the Australian Passionfruit website. The recipes include passionfruit and white chocolate chip cookies, passionfruit mule cocktails and no-bake passionfruit mini cheesecakes, tapping into the insight that dessert content continues to be a key driver of engagements.
 
Social Media performance broadly continues to improve year-on-year delivering extremely cost-effective results. The best performing Facebook post for February was a simple and classic passionfruit sponge cake. This post was not only the highest reaching (106,000 people reached), but was also the most engaged, achieving an engagement rate of 10%. Many comments from fans were nostalgic, sharing memories of enjoying a passionfruit sponge or other passionfruit desserts.

Brought to you by:
Belinda Van Schaik
Marketing Manager, Hort Innovation Australia

email: Belinda.VanSchaik@horticulture.com.au

Click on the links below to view 'Aussie Passionfruit's' Instagram, Facebook and Web pages

Facebook
Facebook
Instagram
Instagram
Website
Website
Additional Information on Piece Rate Changes

3/3/22 - Additional content has been added the Fair Work website about the new minimum hourly wage guarantee for pieceworkers under the Horticulture Award.
 
Under the Horticultural Award you can still pay piece rates, however all piece workers will be guaranteed a minimum hourly wage and the piece rate has to allow for the average competent worker to earn at least 15% above the minimum hourly rate. There are also additional record-keeping requirements.
 
We highly recommend that all growers who are affected by these changes to visit new minimum hourly wage guarantee for pieceworkers news article and carefully read the information.
 
The Fair Work page covers;
 
•             Main changes
•             New piecework rules
•             Minimum hourly wage guarantee for pieceworkers
•             Record keeping, and
•             Other entitlements for pieceworkers
 
They have also developed practical examples to assist with understanding the changes.

Future Drought Fund

28/3/22 - The Australian Government is providing $9 million through the Future Drought Fund to put boots on the ground in regional Australia and give farmers practical assistance applying the latest in drought resilience innovation and technology.

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud said a new national network of Adoption Officers would be based across the eight Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs.
“Locals know their regional communities and needs better than anyone and that’s why key roles, like Adoption Officers are best in these communities,” Minister Littleproud said.
“This investment is equal to 20 new full-time jobs in regional Australia to support agriculture to prepare for the next drought, that will inevitably come.
Read more here (content source QFF '10Things' 28/3/22)
Building Farm Business Resilience in Horticulture

image credit: Growcom

4/3/22 Horticultural growers can now access the new Farm Business Resilience Program (FBRP) being delivered by Growcom. The new assistance measures will help you to review all aspects of your business, develop plans and access grants and loans through Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) or private financier. Read on at Growcom here to find out: 

  • What is the Farm Business Resilience Program?
  • Who is eligible to participate?
  • What financial assistance is available?
We Want to Hear from You

Have you recently read a story of interest to share with your fellow passionfruit industry members? A tried-and-tested passionfruit recipe, a great farm photo, an article you found interesting, or something you would like to see added into the newsletter? Please drop us an email at: admin@passionfruitaustralia.org.au 

Australian News

Farmers count the cost of south-east Queensland floods- ABC Rural 7/3/22

How the recent Feb/Mar weather event impacted two south-east Queensland farmers.

Read at ABC Rural here 


NSW, Queensland floods on track to be among country's worst-ever natural disasters, Climate Council says- ABC News 10/3/22

'The ongoing floods in Queensland and New South Wales are on track to be one of Australia's worst-ever natural disasters.

And if this news isn't bleak enough, we can expect more extensive and more frequent flooding as climate change intensifies. 

These are the conclusions of a Climate Council report summarising the latest data on the scale of the disaster and underlining the link to global warming caused by human activity.

The Brisbane "rain bomb", for instance, dropped more water on the city than typically falls in London over an entire year, and the volume flowing through the Brisbane River far exceeded the 2010-11 floods.

Insurance claims along the eastern seaboard may be as great as the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires.'

Read on here


Farm inputs not floods to push prices higher - Growcom 8/3/22 

Growcom CEO Stephen Barnard addressed the issue of fruit and vegetable retail pricing, highlighting that fruit and vegetable price points are under pressure not from the recent flooding across NSW and QLD but because 'growers are continuing to bear the brunt of global trade conditions, absorbing rising costs of chemical, fertiliser, fuel, lumber and labour costs without any relief in price from buyers.'

Read more of his statement here.

and

Queensland Farmers Federation (QFF) says farmers' need input costs surety and security - 17/3/22

'Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) led a delegation of members to meet with federal Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud MP today to discuss the sustainability of the agriculture sector in the face of spiraling input costs and concerns regarding input supply security.'

Read the full statement on QFF's website here


Queensland Farmers Federation (QFF) welcomes tax facelift for modern farming - Media release 21/3/22 QFF

'Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) welcomes the federal government’s announcement today that will encourage carbon abatement activities in the primary production sector and help Australia deliver on its net zero emissions target by 2050.
 
The concessional tax treatment to primary producers that generate revenue from the sale of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) and biodiversity certificates will provide farmers with an estimated $100 million benefit through the tax system over the forward estimates.'

Read on here


New Industry strategies to train skilled workforces - 11/3/22

'At the Queensland Workforce Summit, the Queensland State Government announced an injection of $15million of funds into a broad range of skills strategies to support a range of industries. $5million will be allocated towards the development of an Agribusiness Strategy, which includes an Agriculture Skills Fund; and a TAFE Agricultural, Rural and Regional Strategy. QFF acknowledges that this is a great start to address workforce issues and is been pressing for more to be done.'

The full media statement can be read on the Queensland Government website here.' 


New Dollars for fixed wireless a win for farmers and regional Australia - 28/2/22 NFF

'The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) and the Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition (RRRCC) have commended today’s joint announcement by the Federal Government and NBN Co. (nbn) to invest an additional $750 million to expand the nbn fixed wireless network.

“Today’s commitment will see significant improvements in connectivity options, upload and download speeds, and data allowances for many regional and rural Australians, both on fixed wireless and satellite networks,” NFF Telecommunications Committee Chair and Roma farmer Peter Thompson said.

According to nbn, the investment could see up 120,000 previously satellite-only premises offered access to the fixed wireless network.'

Read on at NFF here


Biggest merger in Super history now finalised - 28/2/22

'The merger of QSuper and Sunsuper to become Australian Retirement Trust has now been finalised. This will make the merged fund, the second largest super fund in the country with over two million members and more than $230 billion in funds under management.'

Read on here (source-Growcom 'Horticulutre Now')

Industry Training & Events

National 




Safe Farm's popular HortCard has been refreshed for 2022. You can find all the details here. Check out the courses library here

SafeFarm provides pre-employment induction and online training courses for people working in farming and related industries.

All courses are created and influenced by industry feedback and are provided on-demand via the SafeFarm Learning Management System.


NSW

  • 19-21 May 2022PRIMEX, Casino

 

QLD



The University of Queensland's UQSkills is delivering regional training to Agri-businesswomen at a heavily subsidised rate. Bringing the total cost to $125 per participant for the Farm Business Management Skillset.
 
This is an intensive 4-day workshop and is designed for agri-businesswomen already working at a management level. To view more information click here
~
 
Please see below some articles as featured in the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training - Small Business Connect - February 2022 edition:

May 2022 — Queensland Small Business Month 2022  
During May each year Queensland celebrates the contribution small businesses make in driving our economy, creating local jobs, and building strong communities.

By working together with chambers, councils, peak bodies and small business associations, Queensland Small Business Month 2022 program will feature over 200 events and engagements to connect small business to support, grants and partnerships that will help small businesses thrive.

Hosting a small business in May? Promote and boost attendance by registering it on the Business Queensland website events calendar, so small business owners can find opportunities in their local area.

Small businesses can register to receive a free QSBM promotional kit to help promote their products and services during May by emailing events@desbt.qld.gov.au.

Queenslanders can get involved by purposefully purchasing from a small business in May to show and share their support via the QSBM #lovesmallbusiness social media campaign.

Mentoring for Growth - Queensland
Have you taken part in this free small business mentoring program yet? Mentoring for Growth (M4G) enables eligible businesses to engage with experienced business and industry experts who can offer insights, options and suggestions on your business challenges and opportunities.

Our expert business mentors can provide you with some great marketing strategies, ways to use your database to get more customers, and ideas on how to make your business more scalable.

This is just one example of how M4G could help your small business!  Register for a free and confidential mentoring session today: www.business.qld.gov.au/mentoring.


Business Launchpad
Business Launchpad aims to save time and effort for people starting a new business by helping to identify local, state and federal licences, permits and other requirements. It currently targets the food and beverage and residential construction businesses and is expanding to include new Local Government Areas across Queensland.

~

Agritourism business development workshops
Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF) is encouraging people with small to medium-sized farming businesses interested in agritourism to attend one of the agritourism development workshops being held throughout the state from this month.

Agritourism is growing in Queensland—providing farmers with alternate income streams and farm visitors with great moments, memories, and experiences. There’s plenty to consider in bringing your idea to life, such as the type of experience you’ll offer—farm gate sales, pick-your-own fruit and veggies, animal interactions, farm-to-table dining, farmers markets, on-farm cooking classes, and farm tours.

If you'd like to learn more about Agritourism head along to one of the workshops to develop your idea and plan. REGISTER HERE  (source-Growcom)

Industry Newsletters
  • For the latest newsletter 'Tendrils' from Plant Health Australia (PHA) click here. 
  • For the latest edition of 'Here's 10 things to know' from Queensland Farmer's Federation (QFF) click here.
  • For the latest edition of 'agriculture news' from the Department of Agriculture & Fisheries (DAF) click here. 
Covid-19 Updates, Support & News
National update: 
  • For the latest COVID-19 updates from the Australian Government click here

Covid-19 Restriction Checker:


'Covid-19 Restriction Checker' launched by the Federal government is a new online tool to help you find out what restrictions apply in each state/territory. Click here to access the checker 
 

National Support - Getting help during Coronavirus (Covid-19)


Visit Services Australia:
  • If you’re unable to work and earn income because you have to quarantine or isolate
  • To see if you’re eligible for a payment from us and are in severe financial hardship
  • If you need ongoing financial support
 

State Updates:


QLD,   NSW,   VICACT,   NT,   ACT,   WA - Every household in Western Australia can register to receive 5 free COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs)
Recipe

Passionfruit & White Chocolate Chip Cookies 


Makes 12
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 25 mins

 

Ingredients

  • 150g butter, room temperature, cut into cubes
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ¾ cups plain flour
  • 80g fresh passionfruit pulp (approx. 2-3 passionfruit)
  • ½ cup (90g) white chocolate chips
  • Garnish: extra fresh passionfruit pulp

Method

  • Pre heat oven 160°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  • Using an electric beater, beat butter, brown sugar and caster sugar together until light and pale.
  • Add egg, flour and passionfruit pulp. Mix well. Stir through white chocolate chips.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, scoop cookie dough onto the lined baking tray leaving space between each cookie. Press down to flatten slightly.
  • Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Allow to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before carefully placing on a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Serve drizzled with the extra passionfruit pulp if desired.

Tip: Perfect to eat straight away. Can be kept in an airtight container for up to three days.

Image and recipe credit: Australian Passionfruit – www.aussiepassionfruit.com.au

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