The Australian Vegetable Industry Development Network was established in 1998 to assist the national vegetable industry to maximise the benefits of its investment in research and development (R&D) by enhancing communication between growers, researchers and other members of the vegetable industry.

Jointly funded through Horticulture Australia Limited and the National Vegetable Research and Development levy, the network now has six Industry Development Officers (IDOs), with one officer in each state.

Melissa Fraser, the South Australian Vegetable Industry Development Officer (IDO), operates through Arris.

Project aims [Top]
Melissa's primary goal is to help bridge the gap between researchers and growers, ensuring the maximum benefit is gained from the growers levies and the Government contributions funding R&D. She also plays a major role in coordinating the information flow from R&D programs to growers, ensuring information is received in a useful time frame.

Key objectives [Top]
•  Facilitate transfer and adoption of new technologies and practices that increase sustainability and profitability
•  Increase grower awareness of and access to information sources and services
•  Identify impediments to the progress of the industry and suggest potential solutions
•  Assist industry in identifying and accessing opportunities locally, nationally and internationally.
•  To assist implementation of the Australian Vegetable Industry Strategic Development Plan and augment further development strategies for the industry
•  Encourage and facilitate communication throughout the vegetable industry, with particular emphasis on improving linkages between researchers and growers.

Nationally [Top]
•  Production and distribution of information through a variety of media, such as newsletters, magazine articles, targeted mailouts, web pages, email broadcasts, fax streams and numerous industry publications
•  Assist the national R&D approval process, including facilitating commodity and key investment area groups
•  Assist in the determination of state and national R&D priorities, and communicate results throughout industry
•  Organise, facilitate and assist workshops, field days, conferences, seminars and other industry events which contribute to the effective transfer of R&D outcomes

Locally [Top]
•  Act as a central point in SA for coordinating and distributing information from interstate and overseas R&D programs
•  Facilitate the State R&D Committee, State Agricultural Research Advisory Committee and the National Brassica Group Committee
•  Produce the Australian IDO network monthly “Vegetable Platter” column for Good Fruit and Vegetable
•  Communicate outcomes to growers quarterly through the Veglink colum in The Grower.

Issues being addressed [Top]
In addition to regularly communicating with members of the vegetable industry, the IDOs also maintain frequent contact with the 50+ IDOs in other Australian horticultural industries. This allows them to tap into the latest knowledge, ideas and technologies from all facets of the national horticulture industry.

What we are helping to coordinate [Top]
•  Western Flower Thrip – facilitating projects to solve the problem
•  Diamond Back Moth - facilitating projects to solve the problem
•  Facilitating the Vegetable Industry Development Plan
•  Minor Chemical usage – facilitating a registration or permit process for growers
•  Implementing Environmental Management Systems on growers' properties

Benefits to the industry [Top]
•  Maximises the industry's investment in R&D programs through increased coordination and communication of R&D outcomes
•  Stronger linkages forged between all members of the Australian Vegetable Industry
•  More efficient transfer of technology and information, resulting in increased uptake and application of new and practices.

Future Plans [Top]
Melissa's goal is to have a cohesive industry which is profitable and sustainable in an environmentally sound manner.
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