Copy of the ABGA logo

About the Australian Blueberry Growers’ Association

The Australian Blueberry Growers’ Association (ABGA) is the representative association of blueberry growers formed in the mid 1970’s in order to consolidate and progress the Australian industry. One main goal of the association is to ensure an Australian blueberry industry that produces quality fruit and is profitable and environmentally sustainable. The market is expanding worldwide due to the recognition of the blueberry’s great flavour and health benefits.

At present, the ABGA is made up of over 230 grower members from six states. It is overseen by an experienced and passionate elected committee led by a professional Executive Director, Rachel Mackenzie, with many years of experience in Australian agriculture. 95% of Australia’s blueberry production is estimated to have come from members of the association.

A voluntary levy provides funds to achieve the objectives of the industry such as research, development and marketing. Research into growing and storage techniques are of focus for the association along with market access issues; both domestic and international. In order to encourage people to enjoy fresh Australian blueberries, the ABGA carries out several marketing activities. These include demonstrating how people can incorporate the berries into their diets and increasing the awareness of the health benefits associated with blueberries.

The Blueberry Industry Code of Conduct

Front Cover of the Blueberry Industry Code of Conduct

The Blueberry Code of Conduct (the Code) is intended to promote good practice in blueberry operations across Australia, with a particular emphasis on the following:

  • Sustainable farming practices as they relate to the use of land and natural resources, including minimising environmental and amenity impacts on immediate and surrounding areas;
  • Responsible application and safe use of materials (including chemicals) used in the growing and harvesting of blueberries;
  • Ethical sourcing and engagement of labour inputs; and
  • Provision of a safe working environment.

The Code enhances industry efforts to educate stakeholders and the community about the way the industry operates and importantly its commitment to recognising and voluntarily abiding by agreed industry standards and practices.

Good practice is usually about more than what is just legally required. If growers are to firstly review their practices and then to adopt what is considered to be good practice there needs to be an understanding and acceptance of what the consequences can be of poor practices. Adopting good practices in chemical use will result in good practice management of water use and soil conservation will result in controlling any run-off into creeks or other waterways. Growers should consider the consequences that can result in avoiding unnecessary conflict with regulators.

The Code has been developed by the Australian Blueberry Growers Association (ABGA) in consultation with the New South Wales Department of Primary Industry (DPI) –which has extensive experience working with the blueberry industry.

The ABGA strongly encourages all growers to demonstrate their commitment to meeting and complying with the standards as set out in this document.

The Rules of the Association

The Australian Blueberry Growers’ Association (ABGA) is operated under the Associations Incorporation Act (1981).  All membership of the Association and the operation of the Association is governed by the rules of Incorporation.

Membership

Membership runs from July 1st to June 30th each year, irrespective of the date joined. Membership lapses if renewal is not paid within 45 days of the start of the fiscal year.

Grower Membership with voting rights is open to any commercial blueberry growing organisations. All other entities must apply for Special Associate Membership.

Current Management Committee

The Committee elected to manage the Australian Blueberry Growers’ Association has eight current members, each bringing a unique blend of skills from a varied suite of backgrounds, united in a single purpose; to:

  1. GROW THE MARKET
  2. DELIVER IMPROVED VALUE TO GROWER MEMBERS
  3. MANAGE RISKS ACROSS MAJOR AREAS – BIOSECURITY, FOOD SAFETY, MARKET ACCESS AND WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENTS
<center>Jonathan Shaw</center>

Jonathan Shaw

PRESIDENT

Jonathan is both a blueberry farmer at Austinville in the Gold Coast hinterland and a consultant in the wider agricultural community.

He has been a member of the ABGA Committee for a number of years and stepped up into the President role at the 2018 AGM.

Jonathan is an experienced board member having served on the board of Growcom since 2013 and brings significant legal and commercial experience from the agribusiness world.

<center>Anthony Poiner</center>

Anthony Poiner

TREASURER

Anthony is the Executive Director of Fresh Produce Group who supply high-quality fruit to customers across Australia and in Asia.

Their mission is to anticipate what customers and consumers will prize in eating quality, presentation and availability of premium fruit. In Australia, the group grow grapes, citrus and berries based on the best genetics and smart farming practices for Australian and Asian customers.

<center>Andrew Bell</center>

Andrew Bell

SECRETARY

Andrew is the Managing Director of Mountain Blue - a diversified blueberry company, comprising a genetics company, farming operations, commercial nursery and a marketing company. Mountain Blue has a permanent workforce of approximately 70 people, with a seasonal workforce exceeding 1,200.

OTHER COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Cedric Senn
Jon Gleeson
John Simonetta
Stephen Thandi

Association Financial Statement for Members

The Australian Blueberry Growers’ Association (ABGA) produces audited financial statements each financial in line with its governance obligations.  Members can view the latest financial statement here.

Our Associate Members

If you are looking for an industry spokesperson, please contact Rachel Mackenzie, Executive Director – Berries Australia.