This week Hort Connections 2022 took place in Brisbane, the first time since 2019 that the whole horticulture sector was able to get together.
The mood throughout was very positive, with people looking to the future. The sector may not have been able to operate as normal in the last two years, but it has been quick to adapt to the changing situation, and there have been many innovations. The big challenges for the sector will come as no surprise: labor, logistics, and increasing costs.
To combat some of these challenges, there have been big moves to automate. Machine manufacturers have seen a huge increase in demand from the domestic market as growers try to get by with less labor. There have also been big steps forward in the technology in the machines, with robotics and AI playing a major role.
Data loggers seem to have become a must and are no longer a luxury when exporting goods. With the current state of the shipping industry, exporters need to know where their containers are and, if there is a break in the cold chain, they need to know where it happened. Linked to this is the increasing need for data and analytics throughout the whole supply chain. It seems everything is now going digital.
Another big theme was packaging, retailers are demanding plastic-free packaging, and the packaging companies have made fantastic progress to accommodate this while still giving the growers solutions which keep the produce fresh.
The event was rounded off on Wednesday evening with the gala dinner.