AWB Limited’s Chief Executive Andrew Lindberg has made a commitment to inject $150,000 over the next three years directly into the future of the Australian durum industry.
Speaking at Australia’s first Durum Industry Convention in Adelaide this week, Mr Lindberg said the money would be specifically used to help establish a national body to drive industry in its quest to grow market presence.
“AWB has clearly made a strong commitment to introduce increased flexibility in the marketing of durum, and with a united industry we are confident we can increase the market significance of Australian durum,” Mr Lindberg said.
“This latest investment is part of a concerted and proactive effort by AWB to help achieve that, and build on the type of momentum created at this forum.”
Mr Lindberg also challenged other key industry players to follow suit, and invest in the industry to help it meet its future potential.
This week’s forum was considered a milestone along the path to unify the Australian durum industry, and included the first steps toward the formation of a national steering committee.
Participants voted unanimously for the creation of a national industry body, nominating candidates to sit of the committee. An announcement on those positions will be made soon.
Delegates also identified the 10 major issues confronting the industry, which included the need for a strategy for expanding national durum production, and a single, nationally focused research and development project.
The industry also expressed a desire to tap into the experience and resources of the Grains Research and Development Corporation to achieve its R&D objectives.
Mr Lindberg said Australia currently exported about 500,000 tonnes of durum each year, but with industry cooperation, that figure could be significantly increased.
“I think the industry realises the competition is not across the border but across the water, and we can work together to compete it,” Mr Lindberg said.
Forum coordinator and durum grower Pete Mailler said the creation of a national body was something all delegates recognized had to occur as a pre-curser to future industry development.
“All our objects revolved in some way around the formation of national body,” Mr Mailler said.
“I don’t think the industry could have progressed in the fractured way it was, but the industry needed a catalyst and I think this forum was that catalyst that brought everyone together,” he said.
For more information contact: Peter McBride on (03) 9209 2174 or 0417 662 451.