PROFITS from international Pink Lady operations will help fund the apple and pear extension program, Future Orchards, into the future.
Apple and Pear Australia Limited (APAL) announced it had committed to funding the program, starting from July 1, 2021, with a reduced use of growers' levies.
APAL licences more than 200 importers and exporters globally, collecting royalties on kilos of Pink Lady traded.
It also manages quality and protects the brand in more than 100 countries worldwide.
APAL's 2018-2019 annual report says the company had a revenue from the management of Pink Lady and Joya (a different apple variety) of $6,353,331 for 2019.
APAL chief executive officer, Phil Turnbull, the organisation had reached a financial position that allowed it to take some pressure off levies.
"But at the same time provide funding certainty for a program that is so valuable to the ongoing success of our industry. Now is the right time to take this next step," Mr Turnbull said.
With ongoing funding locked in, APAL is looking to enhance the program and including further ideas and feedback from Australian growers.
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"The most obvious change we are proposing is to increase the time we - and our speakers and experts - spend with growers in the regions," Mr Turnbull said.
"We are also looking forward to ramping up our support for all aspects of a successful business - from business management, compliance and supporting all varieties, including branded varieties, to consumer trends and export development beyond the farm gate."
"In partnership with AgFirst, we are continuing to work through the details of the new program with current partners and look forward to sharing further details as we approach the 1 July 2021 start date."
Since 2005, APAL in partnership with New Zealand ag consultancy AgFirst has developed the Future Orchards program to deliver a suite of extension and development activities.
AgFirst's Ross Wilson said the funding commitment was an exciting new opportunity to build on the strengths of the existing program.
"Over the past 15 years we have built an incredibly successful and highly regarded program by prioritising the needs of growers," Mr Wilson said.
"We are excited to see the program continue to evolve and to build the knowledge and networks within and across the Australian apple and pear industry."
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