Three pioneers of the mango industry were celebrated at the 12th Australian Mangoes Conference held in Darwin last week.
More than 220 delegates attended with the three key contributors to the development of the Australian mango industry recognised for their outstanding commitment.
The Northern Territory produces nearly half of all Australia's mangoes, the bulk of those from Katherine.
The industry forms the NT's largest horticultural sector, contributing $88 million to the economy annually.
Peter Marks, together with his wife Dianne, set up one of the first horticultural operations in Katherine and have been committed to the mango industry for the past 30 years.
As well as having served on both the Australian Mango Industry Association and NT Mango Industry Association boards, Mr Marks was an industry leader, producing high quality produce for domestic and export markets.
He was also a strong advocate for the mango industry quality standards, in particular the flavour standards, measured by dry matter testing with near infrared (NIR) machines.
Ken Rayner was recognised for his ongoing contribution to mango breeding.
He has been cross-pollinating mango trees for over three decades; with the aim of producing advanced mango rootstocks and creating new varieties.
Two new varieties have recently been commercialised; Lady Jane and Lady Grace.
Rob Vennard was the visionary behind Manbulloo's plantation just outside Katherine.
At the time there was no other operation in existence like it and he is essentially responsible for transforming the NT mango industry.
Mr Vennard also contributed to the development of exporting Australian mangoes, through his involvement in the grower marketing group Australian Mango Exports.
Australian Mangoes CEO, Robert Gray, said Peter Marks, Ken Rayner and Rob Vennard were great visionaries who contributed enormously to making the Australian mango industry what it is today.
"It was a great conference and it was pleasing to see so many of our industry stakeholders in attendance. There truly was a great turn out from everyone in our industry, across the supply chain," Mr Gray said.
"A key highlight of the event was the announcement of our focus areas of our best practice management resource; supply chain temperature management, decision to pick, and orchard management.
"The industry will concentrate on building this resource over the next three years."
He said the Australian Mangoes team is excited to be working on this project, together with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Resources, Western Australia Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development and NT Farmers."