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PMA A-NZ Technology and Innovation Event wrap up

The Produce Marketing Association Australia-New Zealand (PMA A-NZ) recently hosted their second instalment in a series of Tech Events; this time at the Brisbane Markets in Rocklea. These events expose managers, owners and suppliers across the fresh produce and floral industry supply chains to potentially disruptive technologies by presenting case studies of successful adoption. The events are also a terrific opportunity to network amongst PMA A-NZ members and staff.

An intimate group assembled amongst the bustle of the morning market, allowing for a free flowing and interactive session. A diverse range of speakers covered topics that had something for everyone in the room.

PMA A-NZ CEO Darren Keating and Head of Food Safety and Technology Richard Bennett opened proceedings before handing to the day’s first speaker, Felicity Turner from The Yield. Facility gave an overview of the Australia ag-tech company and how it’s transforming decision making for growers through smart sensing technology.

The group heard how The Yield is using sensors on-farm and in-field, taking millions of records each day through a communications gateway, reorganised through an analysis platform and then displaying information and predictions on a mobile app. Overall, the aim is to tailor and localise weather and environment information to each farm rather than using regional data from the Bureau of Meteorology, Felicity explained.

The technology has already brought massive benefits to the aqua-cultural industry and recent feedback in horticulture seems overwhelming positive too. The next speaker, Melanie Wishart from GS1 spoke to the group on DataBar. Melanie demonstrated how Databar technology has the ability to improve traceability and authentication in the produce industry. For retailers it also has the ability to reduce checkout time, increase accuracy, reduce shrinkage and improve category management.

The implementation of DataBar is currently in the very early stages of implementation so advice to the group was that packers and vendors need to start planning for the transition to the technology.

The Tech Event’s final speaker was Mark Parkinson of Lockyer Agronomics who spoke on Electrolysed Oxidising Water (EW) technology, a safe and sustainable alternative to chemical sanitisers in food production and processing. It’s common knowledge that an effective sanitising system in a packhouse is essential to maintaining the microbial integrity of products as they progress through the supply chain, but there hasn’t been a lot of innovation in this space for a few years.

Recently however, there are a number of businesses that have taken the plunge on EOW, particularly for higher risk products, and they are reporting excellent results. EOW units rely on water with a small amount of added salt passing through an electrical charge that produces hypochlorous acid. Users have also reported improved shelf life, due to a concurrent reduction in spoilage organisms.

Source: PMA A-NZ
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