As prunes take off around the nation, Hanwood prune grower Craig Tropeano is planning to add to the MIA industry by attending a Masterclass in Horticultural Business through the University of Tasmania.
Awarded a $13,000 scholarship from Australian Prune Industry Association (APIA), Mr Tropeano is excited to be able to bring back industry and business knowledge and networks.
“It’s been an entirely positive experience growing prunes in this area,” Mr Tropeano said.
“The future of prunes is looking very positive, and I hope to bring back the benefits of business knowledge to help expand and grow both personally and as an industry here.”
APIA Chairman and Prune grower Grant Delves said the response to the scholarship was extremely pleasing, with four applicants demonstrating the keenness of prune growers in the MIA to keep expanding.
Mr Delves said the decision to award Mr Tropeano the scholarship was based on his enthusiasm and innovation.
“Craig’s family has been growing prunes for about 10 years, and during that time he has shown a willingness to be involved in all aspects of the industry,” Mr Delves said.
“He is also on the executive of the industry, and is showing an innovative and thorough approach to everything that he is doing, both in growing and the prune dehydration processes.”
The Masterclass is a 10-month online course which has three face-to-face weekends, taking the students to all areas of Australia showcasing different horticultural industries.
It will enable Mr Tropeano to mix with like-minded people, look for new ideas, new business opportunities, and reap the networking benefits of associating with other industries.
The funding comes on the back of APIA being awarded $159,000 by the Australian Government’s $5 million Leadership in Agricultural Industries Fund to invest in the development of its people and culture.
APIA identified key areas to help reinvigorate the industry, including research and development, promotions as well as building skills and knowledge of industry members.
Mr Delves said its a chance to recognise the value of the people like Mr Tropeano, as they are a vital component working behind the scenes to drive the industry forward.
Read more about the masterclass here.