Big things to grow from international visit
BOWEN is known across the country as one of the best winter growing locations in Australia, and was last week given the chance to show this to more than 60 international horticultural visitors.
The visit was part of a two-week trip organised by the International Plant Propagator Society (IPPS), an organisation that seeks to learn and share knowledge in regards to plant propagation.
North and Central Queensland were specifically chosen for the trip, with many visitors having never experienced tropical horticulture and the unique challenges that face tropical farmers.
The tour saw visitors experience the challenges faced by Bowen Quality Seedlings and their nursery in the morning, before moving on to Walker Farms to experience local farming techniques.
IPPS international president and tour organiser Clive Larkman said that the Bowen leg of the trip had been really eye opening to some of the visitors, especially those from overseas.
"The whole point of this trip is to be able to learn new and interesting things, and I really think everyone here has had that so far," Mr Larkman said.
"Most of these growers that we have in attendance have never experienced tropical horticulture, and the unique challenges that may face them. They may learn new things from these farmers that they can take back to their own farms and put into place."
Fellow tour organiser Di Larkman said that the trip had been invaluable in showing the international visitors Australian hospitality, as well as letting them learn at the same time.
"A lot of these people don't travel, and we've been able to convince them from all over the world to come and experience Australia, and they've been blown away," Mrs Larkham said.
"Bowen has been an example of the amazing Aussie hospitality we wanted to show these visitors. Pam and Nev at Bowen Quality Seedlings were fantastic, and Carl at Walker Farms has opened his arms to talk to everyone here about his experiences."
Carl Walker, of Walker Farms, said that it was a great experience to share his knowledge with the international visitors in attendance.
"Some of these guys have come from farms that are putting out an amount of produce close to $100m a year, so to see how we work and the challenges we face being much smaller would be interesting for them," Mr Walker said.
"We're almost hobby farms to some of these guys."
Mr Walker fielded questions on the day discussing unique problems faced in North Queensland such as natural disasters, shipping produce overseas and over state borders and the use of herbicides and pesticides.
The tour enjoyed lunch at Birds Fish Bar before moving on to Mackay.