03 Jul OZblu® Blueberry Growers Get Ready for Anything at Global Conference
PERTH, 3 July 2023 – The annual OZblu® Global Grower Conference took place in late June. Held in Paarl, Western Cape, the extreme rains and cold of the preceding week did not dampen the spirit of 150 growers, customers and investors from around the world.
The theme this year was “Ready for Anything” – the speakers discussed future-proofing farms for the reality of challenges we have seen in recent years – including disease, impact of war and climate change.
In a powerful agenda, growers and blueberry experts from all stages of the value chain collaborated, fostered partnerships and shared insights.
Roger Horak, Executive Chairman and Founder of United Exports, the company that sub-licenses the production of and markets renowned OZblu® blueberries said, “With all the events of the past few years, it is easy to get stuck in the operational reactions. The best way to thrive and future-proof blueberry farming is to get together as a global team and share learnings and improvements.”
For Horak, the son of a farmer, farming is in his blood. Horak is passionate about precision agriculture – in 2006, he partnered with internationally-renowned breeders Dave and Leasa Mazzardis, and the OZblu® story began. Dave and Leasa created the genetics, joining Horak to create the OZblu® standard and brand of blueberries.
Future-Proofing Blueberry Farms
The conference’s presentations and discussions focused on OZblu®’s 5-ingredient recipe for success; a recipe for thriving in an increasingly dynamic world.
The first ingredient is the company’s worthwhile mission, intrinsic to ESG, to positively impact climate change, loss of biodiversity and reduce inequalities by encouraging social transformation.
The second ingredient is great genetics; Roger Horak shared the latest news and developments on OZblu® genetics.
The third ingredient is growing right and supplying right. Attendees heard stories about lessons learned from farms around the globe. The depth of the value chain was illuminated by logistics, supply chain and sales operations. And a glimpse was given into the future of machine harvesting for the developed markets where production sits on the doorstep of consumption, turning the dial on sustainability and the entire value chain (logistics and the vertically integrated supply chain).
The fourth ingredient is 52-weeks’ supply. Horak presented and illustrated how the OZblu® genetics have delivered this, meeting the demands of more and more strategic customers around the world from global production sites – year-round. The plan is to get there for all key customers – because that’s what the market demands. OZblu® genetics are backed by a team of global agronomists and R&D specialists, who ran an expo and demonstrations at the conference.
R&D Expo at the 2023 OZblu® Global Grower Conference
The final ingredient is strong customer programmes and relationships and the conference showcased the depth and extent of this customer-led business, sharing sales wins and hosting a panel of customers from China, including Riverking, XianFeng Fruit and Joy Wing Mau.
Horak says, “We know that our genetics and the fruit do much of the work for us. And when we get surprised, we make a plan, together.”