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Media profile. Tania Chapman. 2014 Scholarship winner

Media profile. Tania Chapman. 2014 Scholarship winner

Tania Chapman, from Mildura in Victoria, has been awarded a prestigious Nuffield Scholarship, supported by Rabobank. She received the award at the organisationʼs prestigious National Conference dinner last night (Thursday) at Crown Perth. Tania will research citrus varieties grown around the world to assess suitability for Australian growing conditions, cost efficiency of production, and market opportunities they may create.

With her family, Tania owns and operates a 140-hectare citrus property south of Mildura, producing Navel oranges predominantly for export and Valencia oranges for the export, domestic and juice markets. Approximately 100 hectares is planted to citrus, producing on average just on 4000 tonnes of predominantly Valenciaʼs.

Taniaʼs key role in the business is in financial and marketing, with responsibility for the quality assurance program, Maximum Residue Limits and other protocols to ensure that they can export to as many markets as possible – currently Mildura Fruit Company exports to 32 countries worldwide.

Tania says Australia has the highest cost of citrus production in the world, making it very hard to compete with countries with a lower cost structure.

“This means we have to push our competitive strengths, such as quality, flavor and being clean and green. However itʼs also critical consumers in those targeted countries get the varieties they want,” she explains.

Tania would like to research the varieties grown in various countries and to see if they are not just suitable for our growing conditions, but can also be produced cost-efficiently, as some varieties require a lot more manual work during the production process. In addition, she is keen to identify counter-seasonal marketing opportunities.

“We provide too much citrus for domestic consumption and currently our industry has an oversupply in key months of our production season – we need to identify and switch to new varieties consumers want,” Tania says.

Tania’s itinerary includes China, the USA, Spain and Japan.

Peter Knoblanche, Rabobankʼs general manager of Country Banking Australia, says Rabobank is proud to be a long-standing supporter of the Nuffield Australia scholarship program.

“As the worldʼs leading food and agribusiness bank, Rabobank encourages Australiaʼs primary producers to seek opportunities to further develop their businesses, and contribute to the wider Australian agricultural sector” Mr Knoblanche says.

“The Nuffield viewpoint is to learn and share these learnings. This aligns well with the bankʼs philosophy and as such, Rabobank has been involved with the Nuffield scholarship program since 1998.

A Nuffield scholarship is a big commitment and by stepping back from their day-to-day operations, scholars gain a clear perspective of the global food and agriculture sector and are better equipped to create and capitalise on future opportunities.”

Nuffield Australia is an organisation providing opportunities to Australian farmers to travel overseas on an agricultural research scholarship. It is a 16-week program consisting of both group and individual travel. In March 2014 we will have one group travelling through Canada, United States (California and Washington DC), Mexico, Europe, Brazil and New Zealand, while a second group will tour South Africa, Kenya, Eastern Europe, Europe and USA.

Tania is available for interviews to talk about her planned study.  Mobile: 0428 291 717

A high-resolution photo of Tania is available for download online in the 2014 Nuffield Scholar gallery

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