SOME 400 delegates are expected to attend this year's Australian Banana Industry Congress to be held at the Cairns Convention Centre and the Pullman Cairns International Hotel from May 12 to 14.
The event is held every two years and organisers have committed to presenting a program that suits all attendees.
Topics to be covered include:
- domestic and global marketing
- business growth
- succession planning
- improving efficiencies on farm.
As well as expert speakers, growers will also take the stage to share innovations with their peers.
One of the headline speakers for the event is Australia's Outback Wrangler, Matt Wright.
Congress chair and Lakeland grower Paul Inderbitzin said any grower attending is looking for a program that is informative, motivational and gives them something to take back and apply on farm.
"The program that has been formulated for 2021 ticks every one of these boxes," Mr Inderbitzin said.
Mr Inderbitzin said now, more than ever, Congress provided a special opportunity for growers, market leaders, decision makers and researchers to gather under one roof.
"Recent challenging times have affected every Australian, in one way or another," he said.
"But throughout it all, banana growers have continued to grow, pack and deliver the nation's number one selling fruit to wholesale markets and retail shelves.
"Amidst the uncertainty of a global pandemic, farmers across the country have soldiered on and proved not only their resilience in the face of adversity, but also the essential role horticulture plays in keeping the economy robust."
On top of the challenges presented by COVID-19, many growers have also battled significant weather events, including recent cyclonic winds that decimated some farms around Innisfail.
"Given this, it's timely to remember that congress is more than just an industry gathering. It's also a time for growers to socialise and take some rare time out, away from their business," Mr Inderbitzin said.
Among the speakers for this year's event are:
- Motivational speaker Matt Church, who will explore the chemistry of success, how to create positive change and a healthy balanced life.
- Mental health advocate Mary O'Brien, who will speak on breaking the stigma of mental health and depression, especially among rural men, while also connecting them with vital resources and support.
- Consumer psychologist Adam Ferrier, looking at behavioural economics.
The congress will also feature grower favourites including the Banana Ball and Awards of Honour, the Banana Bar and Banana Women's Network Lunch.
The full program can be found online at www.bananacongress.org.au.
Registrations are now open, with early bird rates currently in place and discounts for Australian Banana Growers' Council grower members.
Sign up here to Good Fruit and Vegetables weekly newsletter for all the latest horticulture news each Thursday...