Nuffield Australia 2016 Scholarship winner
Matthew Abbott, from Mena Creek in far north Queensland, receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by Horticulture Innovation Australia using the Banana Levy and matched funds from the Australian Government.
Matthew will study opportunities for organic farming with a particular focus on sustainable practices in Australia. He will also study how the industry manages diseases such as fusarium (TR4) and the different practices and varieties used to combat it; along with banana marketing; category diversification and export markets.
Matthew, his father Robert and brother Ben have been in organic banana production for the past 10 years, having previously grown conventional bananas for 20 years prior to the swap to organic farming.
With sustainable agriculture being the main driver, their belief in the future of organic farming is underpinning plans to expand production by about 20 per cent per year.
Matthew aims to research organic farming across Asia and South America, looking at banana varieties and systems to manage Panama disease
Tropical Race 4, potential export markets for organic bananas and splitting bananas into categories for product branding and consumer marketing.
“Organic banana production makes up about 1–2 per cent of the total Australian banana market, but there is opportunity for a lot more growth,” he says.
“I would like to see how the big businesses overseas, both conventional and organic, operate from paddock to plate and bring this knowledge back to the Australian industry.
“I would like us to be exporting organic bananas by 2020, with strong demand driving our increased production.”
Matthew will travel to Japan, South America and Europe through his Nuffield Scholarship.
Location: Mena Creek, Queensland,
Mobile: 0427 027 253
Returning Scholar presentation:
Matthew Abbott is sponsored by: