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TAS Country : November 17th 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011 Tasmanian Country 9 Opinion Flower power builds industry OVER the FENCE John Rich BLOOMING: Botanical Resources Australia field officer Brent Smedley checks a pyrethrum crop. TASMANIAN agriculture has re- cently been very much in the world spotlight with Botanical Resources Australia (BRA), in conjunction with the International Society for Horticul- tural Science presenting the inter- national pyrethrum symposium in Launceston. As one who has been associated with BRA from the very beginnings of the pyrethrum industry in Tasmania, way back in 1996, I would never have envisaged an international sym- posium ever being held in Tasmania. There was a very good reason for this symposium to be held here. BRA now grows over 60 per cent of the world's pyrethrum, the botanical in- secticide. The company operates the most high-tech pyrethrum industry in the world. BRA contracts growers as well as managed farms, to grow in excess of 4500ha of pyrethrum in Tasmania as well as Ballarat, Victoria. The product is extracted and re- fined in BRA's plants to be used in pyrethrum-based insecticide pro- ducts for the world market. Whilst the majority of the pro- duction is sourced from the fertile soils of Tasmania, from this year, a portion of the production will be sourced from Ballarat. The move to having a portion of production grown in Victoria will provide the oppor- tunity for rapid expansion of pro- duction in the future and will also diversify the seasonal production risk. The symposium was an outstand- ing success, attracting 175 delegates from 16 countries including some of the most influential and important people in the world's pyrethrum industry. My own involvement was to de- velop a partner's tour to some of the Tamar Valley attractions and to organise and host a three-day post symposium tour to various places including farm visits and tourist sites, finishing in Hobart. It was a pleasure to ''show off'' this wonderful state, in its current green glory, to international visitors. The event began with a one-day pre-symposium study tour to BRA's factory at Ulverstone. Under the direction of BRA's unas- suming managing director, Ian Folder, the company has a policy of continual improvement, fine tuning of production methods and adoption of new technology. The Ulverstone plant is state of the art and has recently won awards in occupational health and safety as well as Excel- lence in Engineering. The symposium sessions included a range of topics including the pro- duction and development in Aust- ralia, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya. Anther important session covered regulatory review and update of progress in the USA and EU. Speakers discussed the importance of the natural pest control products that are able to be produced from the pyrethrins extracted from the py- rethrum flowers. Eco-friendly py- rethrum is a most versatile and popular natural pest control material, used in a variety of markets including consumer products, professional pest control products, pet products, home garden and specialty agricultural products. These products are typical- ly delivered in liquid or aerosol spray can form, or they can be powders or dusts. An interesting group of delegates from the Enga province in the high- lands of Papua New Guinea also attended the event. These delegates included leaders from local farming cooperatives. The highlands of Papua New Guin- ea were once one of the world's important producers of pyrethrum. The crop was introduced there in the 1950s, but since the pyrethrum extrac- tion plant closed in 1995, the industry had all but disappeared. With the help of a major grant through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and support from the PNG Federal Government, BRA agreed to manage the re-commercialising of the industry. It will assist growers and local researchers to improve the quality and quantity of their crop, refurbish the processing factory and laboratory and for BRA to buy the extracted pyrethrum oleoresin product. About 11,000 people in Enga are currently involved with pyrethrum growing. Today, pyrethrum products are sold in many countries, with the US, EU, Japan, Korea and Australia as the major markets. China, India and South America are emerging as ma- jor markets. In the US, there are 1500 various registered products that con- tain pyrethrins. Grant Applications Open CARBON FARMING FUTURES FILLING THE RESEARCH GAP PROGRAM The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is seeking round one applications for project funding under the $201 million Filling the Research Gap Program, as part of the Australian Government s Carbon Farming Futures program. These grants will support essential research into emerging greenhouse gas abatement technologies and strategies, as well as innovative management practices that improve carbon sequestration in the land sector and enhance sustainable agricultural practices. Building on the successful outcomes of the Climate Change Research Program, the Australian Government will provide funding of up to $48 million for the first round of funding. Eligible applicants include: Australian research and development corporations, primary industry organisations, tertiary institutions, and other research centres, agencies and organisations. Applicants must have a current Australian Business Number and operate their core business within Australia. Applications for Filling the Research Gap funding round one program grants close on Friday 03 February 2012. For further information and to obtain a copy of the application form and program guidelines, please visit www.daff.gov.au/carbonfarmingfutures/ftrg, email email@example.com or phone 1800 108 760. AG55670 Guide to season's best Over 40 great places to visit! ROGER HANSON JUST in time for the fresh fruit season, Fruit Growers Tasmania is launching the fourth edition of the Tasmanian Fruits Farm Gate Guide on Monday, November 28, at D'En- trecasteaux Cherries, Birchs Bay. The successful inaugural guide was released in 2008 and the publi- cation is now released annually. Fruit Growers Tasmania business development manager Lucy Gregg said the Farm Gate Guide had been designed for locals and visitors to source some of the freshest fruit available direct from growers and the farm gate. The guide promotes Tasmanian produce at a local, national and international level through various distribution systems. This year's guide has more than 40 producers across all the growing areas in the state -- the Huon, Derwent and Tamar valleys, East Coast, North West Coast, South East and Coal River Valley. Ms Gregg said Tasmania's clean air, natural conditions and water supplies provided the perfect en- vironment to grow premium fruit such as apples, pears, cherries, ber- ries and stonefruit. ''Tasmania's mild temperate mari- time climate provides an ideal en- vironment for slow maturation and flavour development of fruit,'' Ms Gregg said. ''The state's topography and ge- ography allows for niche micro- climates, providing diverse produce to be harvested from early summer through to late autumn.'' The guide can be downloaded from the Fruit Growers Tasmania website: www.fruitgrowerstas.com.au FRUIT Growers Tasmania will launch two workplace safety DVDs for casual orchard pickers and pack house employees on Wednesday. The DVDs will be officially laun- ched by the Minister for Workplace Relations, David O'Byrne. They have been produced to meet the needs of itinerant workers employed in the Tasmanian workplace. The DVDs, which are subtitled in five different languages (Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean and Man- darin), will be distributed to the fruit industry. For further details phone 6231 1944.
November 10th 2011
November 24th 2011