Home' Grower : February 2013 Contents The South Australian Grower -- February 2013
LOXTON citrus grower Ryan Arnold (pictured) says it is
tough going for the industry, but that there is cause for
For the past decade, he has been growing a mix of
navels, mandarins, lemons and Valencia oranges on
60 hectares, and says times have been tough since he
"But there's some optimism with some of the new
varieties of easy-peel, seedless mandarins which sell
well to local consumers and reduce your exposure to
export," he said.
Ryan supports the new Citrus Australia-SA Region
He was worried at first that the restructuring could
lose some local representation but after attending the
committee's first public meeting, felt it was a step in
the right direction.
"I don't know that everyone supports it, but
everyone agrees that we need to change a few things
and forge a new path," he said.
By MAX OPRAY
AFTER a period of
transition, the new peak
citrus body in South
Australia is fully formed and
ready for action, but money will
Citrus Australia-SA Region is
led by inaugural chairman Con
Poulos, who fronts a team made
up of deputy chairperson Penny
Smith and committee members
David Arnold, Anthony
Fulwood, Mark Doecke, and
Mr Poulos, a Berri grower who
also ser ves as director of
Australia's largest grape supply
co-operative, CCW, faces the
daunting challenge of taking on
the responsibilities of the now-
dissolved Citrus Industry
Development Board and Citrus
Growers SA, operating at a
fraction of the cost.
Together, the two former
citrus bodies charged a $3.85 a
tonne levy while CASAR is to be
funded at a rate of $1/t.
To make the situation worse,
the industry is shrinking as
growers leave the struggling
sector for more lucrative
"The dollar levy that growers
now pay is a big reduction
compared with what growers
used to put in," Mr Poulos said.
"On top of that it's voluntary
-- people can ask for a refund of
their levy ever y year around April
-- so we won't really know till the
middle of the year how much
money we will have.
"But there's no point waiting
around -- we've just hit the
ground running and started on
At a series of meetings across
the Riverland region in
Raft of meetings held with
New plan for containing fruit
Industry struggling with
New SA citrus
body faces big
November, Mr Poulos and the
committee consulted with citrus
growers and implemented a
number of changes.
"One of the first things
brought up was our name --
which was originally the South
Australian Regional Advisory
Committee -- but it was causing
a bit of confusion because the
word 'citrus' wasn't in it, so we
addressed that straight away and
changed it to Citrus Australia-SA
Region," he said.
Other hot topics at the
meetings included labelling laws,
market access, strategies on
varieties, and juice industry
The issue that consumed most
of CASAR's attention was
biosecurity, particularly in light
of the Victorian government's
decision to wind back the fight
against fr uitfly.
"We had some meetings with
Biosecurity SA and PIRSA and
together reformed the Riverland
Fruit Fly Committee -- one of
that being the revamping the
contingency plan in case of an
outbreak," Mr Poulos said.
"The old plan was outdated,
written years ago and completely
behind on modern technology."
Mr Poulos said CASAR will
operate differently to its
"We're an advisory committee
-- not like the old committees
that had certain powers -- so we
bring the issues to Citr us
Australia's attention," he said.
"We will be aligning with
Citrus Australia as much as
possible to avoid duplication."
Citrus Industry Development
Board chairman Richard Fewster
is impressed with the work of the
new chairman, but he is also
concerned about funding.
"I spoke to Con Poulos, and
we offered to help where we
could," Mr Fewster said.
"They're committed to
improving things for citrus
growers, however until they have
a better funding model I think
they will struggle.
"The current citrus board
legislation doesn't give them a
lot of power, but if more powers
are needed the ball is in their
court to seek that.
"I think the bigger picture of
citrus industr y will become
clearer this year -- there is going
to be a senate inquiry nationally,
which will examine the structure
of how money is collected from
"Citrus growers need it to be
looked at as they are doing it
tough, particularly with the
American dollar exchange rate
and the impact that has on
"There are some bright spots
such as the rising popularity of
easy peels, but the industry is a
long way from getting out of the
cave and into the light."
Citrus Australia-SA Region chairman Con Poulos has chosen to hit the ground running with initiatives, rather than
wait for levy funds.
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