12-14 May 2021 | Cairns, QLD


  • 00Days
  • 00Hours
  • 00Mins


Foundation Partner & Gala Dinner Sponsor

Partnering with you for a better world 


Visy is delighted to be a long-standing foundation partner of the Australian Banana Industry Congress, supporting the sector’s growers and stakeholders to meet their goals. 


 We are proudly Australian owned, and our large, local footprint ensures we can offer you more flexibility, greater reliability and faster speed to market. All while providing local jobs and strengthening the Australian manufacturing industry.  


 As a global leader in packaging and resource recovery, we are able to offer you a full range of innovative packaging and automation solutions, including fibre options, pallets, banana bags and packing shed technology.  


 Sustainability sits at the centre of our operating model and we are committed to helping you reach your own sustainability goals. Together we can create solutions that meet the growing consumer demand for environmentally responsible packaging and make a significant contribution to sustainability for the wider community.  


Call 13 VISY or visit www.visy.com.au to find out how we can work together to help you reach your goals. 

Principal R&D Partner

As the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture, each year we invest millions of dollars into critical R&D, extension, marketing and international trade initiatives. We’re extremely proud of the work we do to drive productivity, profitability and demand for Aussie growers, and for the sector at large. 

Principal Partner

At Woolworths, we take a lot of pride in providing our customers with top quality Australian fresh food.  


With more than 1000 stores and 110,000 team members across the country, our purpose is to bring a little good to everyone everyday and supporting Australian growers is a big part of this. 


We're proud of our fresh food credentials with 96% of all our fruit and vegetables sourced right here in Australia and more than two million Woolworths customers pick Cavendish bananas in our stores every week. 


We’re also passionate about making healthier choices more affordable for Australian families. In 2015 we launched Free Fruit for Kids to help more Australian kids eat more fruit. In the last year alone, we gave away more than than 26 million pieces of free fruit to kids in store, including millions of Australian bananas. 

Major Partner

MacKays Banana Marketing (MBM) was established 20 years ago as an entity to manage the logistics and sales functions of a cooperative of large scale farming families serving customers across Australia. MBM has developed expertise in Quality Assurance, Agronomy, Logistics, New Product Development, Ripening and Marketing; all to ensure final customer satisfaction and enjoyment of our fresh, delicious and healthy product offering. Our mission is to consistently create value by delivering exceptional Australian grown produce and expanding our collaborative relationships with growers and customers alike.

Associate Partners

Costa’s exceptional quality Cavendish and Lady Finger bananas are enjoyed around the country.

Our delicious bananas are grown all year round in the ideal climates of Tully and Walkamin on the Atherton Tablelands, North Queensland. We grow them so you can enjoy them every day of the year.


Costa adopts  ustainable farming with a specific emphasis upon protecting the Great Barrier Reef. We know fallowing, planting, fertilisation and the use of chemicals all affect the health of the soil, the plants and, crucially, the fruit. We stick to best practice regimes to ensure we can continually provide the best-quality eating bananas.


In addition to our strict farming practices, we maintain strict post harvest procedures including packing, storage, transport, ripening and dispatch. This ensures our bananas remain at optimum condition until the moment they are enjoyed by the end consumer.

Arcella Banana Company and its growing arm Tropicana Banana are proudly 100% Australian family owned and operated. With over 40 years’ experience, we are passionate about all facets of bananas. We are committed in investing in the future of the Australian banana industry. 


We strive to provide growers with the best service and ensure that retailers receive the best quality bananas 52 weeks of the year. 

Soils First NQ began providing agronomic advice and farm inputs to banana growers in both Tully and the Tablelands in 2003. A warehouse facility in Innisfail was opened in 2011 and in 2016 to service the Tablelands we opened a facility in Tolga.


Our key objective is to provide individual fertiliser solutions to banana growers.


We are the only supplier in the industry to custom blend soluble fertilisers to an individual agronomic requirement.


This process reduces labour costs and is very cost effective compared to one shot blends.


Our long standing relationships with key suppliers ensures reliable supply of quality product and as independent CRT members we have access to the full range of farming inputs at competitive prices.


In 2015, we began manufacturing of Black Urea Granular Blends and are now able to produce blends that cover all the major/minor nutrient requirements of the banana plant.

With over 4,000 metres of warehouse we can accommodate any requirement from Bunch Covers, Banana Twine, Ag Chemical and Fertiliser.

Supporting Partners

Bayer is one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of seeds, crop protection and non-agricultural pest control. The company offers an outstanding range of products including high value seeds and innovative crop protection solutions, as well as an extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture. With a large local and international research and development team, Bayer constantly delivers new and innovative products to the Australian banana industry. 

Business Events Australia (BEA) is the dedicated business events unit within Tourism Australia. Under the BEA brand, Tourism Australia raises awareness and consideration of Australia’s quality business events product offering and delivery of both association and incentive events. Activity includes brand and content marketing, industry partnerships, educational visits, trade engagement and events that allow the Australian business events industry to meet with qualified buyers to grow their business. BEA works closely with the Australian business events industry, delivering insights, partnerships and opportunities to meet and do business with business events planners and media both in key international markets and domestically. BEA also offers the Australian business events industry a range of resources to assist their own work including research on Tourism Australia’s business events target customer and market profiles that provide the latest information and insights on the key markets. 

LaManna Premier Group (LPG) is one of Australia’s largest fresh produce supply chain companies, providing domestic and overseas customers a single source of supply across a diverse range of fruit and vegetable categories. 


LPG business operations are enhanced by climate-controlled distribution services, packing and advanced ripening facilities, and a Central Market Trading presence in every Australian State. 


LPG’s banana category is underpinned by owned farms and growers in North Queensland and the Northern Territory. Furthermore, LPG’s dedicated packing facility, Australian Banana Company (ABC), in Innisfail QLD, supports growers in the region by providing access to LPG Quality and Technical teams, distribution methods, marketing, and more. 

Primary Partners

AGCO is a global leader in the design, manufacturing and distribution of agricultural solutions, working tirelessly to help make today’s farms more productive and more profitable. Globally recognized brands like Massey Ferguson & Fendt make up part of what makes AGCO so strong.  


Massey Ferguson is one of the world’s leading brands in agricultural machinery innovation, helping to ensure farmers achieve greater efficiencies, productivity and at the same time, make life easier for those striving to produce more from the land they farm and care for. The MF 4700 Series is part of the new Global Series range which is based upon the concept of the utility tractor and has been re-engineered from the ground up to meet the needs of present and future farming. Offering farmers between 74 and 82 horsepower, the MF 4700 Series is ideal for the banana industry.  


Fendt offers professional solutions for professional customers. Working harder and driving profits faster, Fendt uses the latest technology to boost farm efficiency and keep cost of ownership down. There’s no better way to stay at the top of the fast-paced, ever-evolving agricultural game than Fendt. The Fendt Vario range of tractors are designed for the agriculture industry and the Fendt 211P is a specialty tractor with wider axles and higher lift capacity that is a perfect option for banana farmers. 

Agspec Australia is a manufacturer and distributor of fertilisers, crop protection products, adjuvants, biostimulants, and soil and water conditioners. Agspec Australia delivers high quality, branded and professionally packaged products for Australia farmers. Such branded products includes the well-known RapiSol® range of trace elements, Atlantik® biostimulant formulation, and Flextend® adjuvant for improved pesticide activity and retention. 

Blenners Transport  journey into becoming one of North Queensland’s largest family owned rail and road transport operators started on a banana farm in 1988.   Proud of its North Queensland roots, Les and Judy Blennerhassett together with sons, Roger and Ben are now a flagship business in the region.

Blenners Transport has continued to grow steadily to meet the ongoing and ever changing demands of their clients and now their significant fleet supplies fresh produce from North Queensland to all southern states with return loads to Brisbane and North Queensland. 

This year at Colin Campbell (Chemicals) [CCC] are celebrating our 80th anniversary. CCC was founded in 1940, in the early days of World War 2 and the company is still 100% Australian Owned and Operated and the owners are actively involved in the business. 


CCC is a leading supplier of innovative, reliable, high-quality and ‘niche’ crop protection products for the pre and post-harvest agricultural sector. It specialises in horticulture and recreational turf.  

Entegra is an award winning manufacturer that has been manufacturing sheds and shade structures using 100% Australian materials for the agricultural, industrial and education sectors for more than 35 years. We provide a full suite of complimentary services such as design, engineering and obtaining permits. Our previous clients include Howe Farms and also Red Rich Fruits who have a 80m clear span facility that is unobstructed by internal posts. Entegra is certified ISO 9001, with a quality management system, customer focus & process for continual improvement.  

FMC is an agricultural sciences company that advances farming through innovative and sustainable crop protection technologies. From our industry leading discovery pipeline, to unique application systems, to modern biological products, we are passionate about bringing new solutions to growers.

Today’s FMC continues to earn the trust of growers and industry partners to maximize their productivity, profitability and sustainability. 

Loscam provides returnable packaging solutions and equipment used to store and move products through supply chains in 12 regions throughout Asia Pacific. We have built our reputation by providing outstanding customer service, innovative products and tailored solutions to our customer since our establishment in 1942. 


Loscam focus on delivering high quality, efficient and environmentally sustainable solutions which has led to a position of leadership in the manufacturing and retail sectors. This leadership is underpinned by a dedicated team of employees continuously striving to delight our customers through systems and processes that ensure ultimate control of our equipment pools. 


Our unique pooling system enables trading partners to share LOSCAM equipment, including pallets, intermediate bulk containers, produce crates and Retail Ready Packaging through the supply chain, enabling conversion of fixed costs to variable costs and promoting environmental sustainability. Our network of service depots are strategically located throughout Asia Pacific to ensure availability of our products when and where you need them 

Netafim is the global leader in smart irrigation solutions for a sustainable future.  


Founded in 1965, Netafim pioneered the drip revolution. 


Today, Netafim provides diverse solutions – from state-of-the-art drippers to advanced automated systems – accompanied by expert agronomic, technical and operational support. Netafim’s market-leading solutions are helping the world grow more with less. 

The people at Omnia Specialities Australia are passionate about soil and plant health. They are leaders in the development and manufacture of specialty fertilisers and biostimulants including Humates, Fulvates and Kelp products. Omnia Specialities has been manufacturing humate soil conditioners and fertilisers in Australia since 1990. Only the best quality leonardite is used in the specialised process, yielding the most concentrated humic acids in the world. 


Our team of ten Specialist Agronomists help growers, both here in Australia and around the world improve yield, quality, efficiency and sustainability of fruit and vegetable crops. 


Opal is very proud to be again part of the Australian Banana Congress in 2021 and would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to Opal and to let you know more about the newest Packaging and Paper company in Australia and New Zealand’s.  Opal is owned by Nippon Paper Industries (NPI) and combines the Orora Fibre Businesses with Australian Paper to form one of the largest packaging and paper companies in our region.  


Opal’s Fresh Team have dedicated fruit and produce account management team that have a thorough understanding of the banana produce supply chain and are committed to keeping you at the forefront of industry trends. Opal offers an extensive range of banana carton solutions to meet all your requirements and wherever possible we implement sustainable practices to your business and environment today and tomorrow. 


To remain the leading supplier in all fruit and produce packaging, the strategy is to provide more innovative solutions that compliment all market requirements whilst retaining high performance outcomes. 


Think Packaging, think Opal. 

QMAC Machinery is the leading supplier of Kubota into Far North Queensland since 1997 with branches in Cairns, Innisfail and Tully. We specialise in Kubota Tractors, Mowers, RTV’s and Implements. Our salespeople are well trained and versed on what we offer, and have the expertise to find the right product for your application. We not only sell the products, we offer all warranty work, parts and service on every item that we sell. We have fully trained mobile technicians that aim to fix the problem “on time the first time”. Our Parts Departments have many years of experience and are here to support your business. Your success is our success…. 


The Banana Industry is an integral part of our business and one that we have been very active in supporting. We look forward to a great event and catching up with existing and new customers.   

SACOA is an Australian owned and operated manufacturer of products designed to control a range of pests and diseases in key horticultural and broadacre crops in Australia.  Throughout SACOA’s thirty year history, developing products specifically for disease and pest control for Australian banana growers has been a key focus.   


BIOPEST, which was developed in collaboration with Australian banana growers, is the only locally developed product on the market.  Designed for controlling yellow sigatoka and sucking pests, BIOPEST is unique in being developed and formulated specifically for Australian conditions and agronomic practices. 


BIOPEST is manufactured in Australia, is proven with over 20 years of commercial field use and independent trialling, and is the product of choice for agronomists, consultants and aerial operators. 


SACOA continues to invest in the Australian banana industry with an ongoing local research and development program – and fully supports its product range with technical and sales support teams. 

For over 50 years, Signet has been a leading Australian manufacturer and supplier of packaging and industrial supplies. With over 5500 products from brands you know and trust, Signet is your local supplier of choice. Whether you need safety, warehousing, labelling, marking, PPE or packaging supplies, we’ve got you covered. 

Stoller products are based on a deep knowledge in Plant Physiology and its practical applications to increase quality and yield in a variety of crops. 


Stoller in Australia are based in Adelaide, South Australia with representatives and distributors throughout the country.  We are committed to manufacturing high quality liquid fertilizers and specialty nutrient products that assist crops to reach their full potential.  Stoller products are distributed through a network of dealers nationwide. 


Our detailed knowledge of Plant Physiology and advanced understanding of how crops respond to the environment allows us to constantly innovate and develop our products. Our Australian team undertake trials and demonstrations throughout the country to deeply understand the way our products impact plant potential in a variety of conditions. Stoller employ skilled representatives that work nationwide with growers, agronomists and distributors. We share our detailed knowledge to assist growers maximise yield potential. 


In combination with proper nutrition and good farming practices, the result is enhanced marketable yield, significant return-on-investment and improved stress tolerance. 


Trade Night Sponsors​

Pakall is a family owned and operated supplier of packaging and protective films to the banana industry for over 30 years.  Full vertical integration allows us to tightly manage every step from design, manufacture, and distribution which ensures our customers enjoy excellent supply security, reduced costs, improved quality and streamlined purchasing. 

Innovation Zone Sponsors​

Tie Up Farming offers the only cloud-based end-to-end operations platform for the horticulture industry, translating open-field farming into an accurate, yield-driven operation. 


Our focus is on the field user in the labour-intensive medium to large agribusinesses. We create one point of data capturing during the farming process enabling the data to be streamlined in the agribusiness. 


Other than the control and command modules we utilise QR barcodes and integration to sensors on the farm to capture more data.  


  • Banana yield forecasting and yield mapping  
  • Cost per block/hectare 
  • Streamlined workflow
  • Control and Commend multiple farms 
  • Complete traceability
  • Reduced costs  
  • Improved yield
  • Freshcare, Harps and Global Gap 

Back A Grower Sponsor

J-Tech Systems has been delivering the best labelling, automation and packaging solutions to the Australian fresh produce industry for more than 20 years.

As a company, we're about sharing our knowledge and expertise with the industry and delivering real-value and practical solutions to support our customers and their business needs.

J-Tech Systems – Driving value. Delivering more.

Australian Banana Industry Congress 2021 icon

Todd Widdicombe

Radio Personality / Master of Ceremonies

Born in the back of a panel van in WA in 1975, Todd was raised as an only child, which really upset his older sister.

He has spent the last 25 years traversing this great brown land, on the run from old video shops who he still owes overdue fees to and wearing out his welcome at many radio stations along the way.

During his 25 years in media this Aussie dad of 4 has called several places home including a most excellent 5 years in Cairns, a forgettable tenure in Gosford NSW, and the last 15 years on the Sunny Coast.

He’s also dabbled in TV, fronting many commercials over the years, from a nonspeaking role in a nationally televised beer ad, to playing the fat-mate of ex QLD cricketer turned model/actor Lee Carseldine in a TV mini series that never saw the light of day. Winning!

Here’s what the critics are saying…

Todd’s grades would be so much better if he applied himself and spent more time learning and less time trying to entertain the class”.
Rose Santoro Todd’s year 8 teacher 1988

At 45 he’s still not sure what he wants to be
when he grows up.

Australian Banana Industry Congress 2021 icon

Mary O'brien

Are you bogged mate?

Mary O’Brien founded the ‘Are you bogged mate?’ program in 2018.

She travels the country breaking down the stigma of mental health and depression, especially among rural men, while also connecting them with vital resources and support.

An article Ms O’Brien wrote in 2018 titled ‘Are you bogged mate?’ gained international attention. It highlighted the mental health challenges country men face on a daily basis and the disconnect between the way depression is communicated to men across rural and remote Australia.

Australian Banana Industry Congress 2021 Logo
Australian Banana Industry Congress 2021 Icon


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Australian Banana Industry Congress 2021 icon

Matt Church

Thought Leaders

Matt Church is a seeker of truth, sharing his learning through teaching and writing. As the founder of Thought Leaders and a highly respected conference presenter, he communicates, connects and challenges audiences and himself to be the best version of themselves.

Matt invites all leaders to expand their view of what is and find true inspiration. Highly intuitive, Matt experiences much of life beyond the observable and explainable. His ability to make the complex simple and the way forward clear, has him speaking all over the world. Grounding big ideas in practical perspectives, the evolution of Matt’s thinking can be traced through the eleven books he has written.

Always one to draw a line in the sand, his latest book Rise Up; an evolution in leadership represents the next level for Matt, as he turns inwards to understand and apply age old wisdom to leadership.

Clear and focused, gentle and affirming. Unequivocal. To follow Matt’s unfolding thinking, go to mattchurch.com.

You can learn about Thought Leaders at thoughtleaders.com.au.

Australian Banana Industry Congress 2021 icon

Adam Ferrier

Founder/ Chief Thinker

Adam is one of Australia’s leading creative strategists, and a consumer psychologist. In 2004, Adam co-founded Naked Communications. Naked embraced a behavioural change model, building brands whilst changing behaviour, and was one of Australia’s most awarded and successful agencies. Following that, Adam created Thinkerbell – where he practices ‘measured magic’ – bringing together marketing science and hardcore creativity. After just 2 years, it became AdNews 2019 Creative Agency of the Year, and has already won a slew of awards for high profile earned media ideas.

In other news, Adam is also the author of two books The Advertising Effect, and Stop Listening to the Customer (Wiley, 2020), a very regular media commentator (Gruen, Sunrise, The Project) and sits on the boards of PIJI (Public Interest Journalism Initiative) and TRIBE (a social content creation agency). Adam is married to Anna and has two sons Asterix and Arturo.

Australian Banana Industry Congress 2021 icon

Matt Wright

Television Presenter

Matt Wright is an accomplished dare-devil helicopter pilot and wildlife re-locator. In recent years he has projected his skills to a global audience of more than 85 countries as the star of National Geographic’s acclaimed television series Outback Wrangler.

Matt Wright was raised in Papua New Guinea and the Australian outback, where living off the land and being comfortable with animals such as deadly snakes, spiders, stampeding cattle and even sharks, was simply way of life.

As an adult, his career path has seen him tackle a range of jobs that require both nerves of steel and a practical ‘can do’ attitude. He has spent time as an outback horse wrangler, oil rig worker, soldier in the Australian Army, crocodile egg collector and, more recently, as a professional chopper pilot and instructor.

Today, Matt’s passions and unique skill set have turned into a career as a wildlife re-locator; tracking down, capturing and transporting a diverse range of dangerous animals including crocodiles, wild buffalo and even polar bears. His objective is based on the preservation of wildlife: removing and relocating problem animals rather than killing them.

Australian Banana Industry Congress 2021 icon

Tim Hunt

General Manager
RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness

Tim Hunt manages Rabobank’s local research division which is comprised of 11 analysts. They are charged with analysing developments in food and agricultural markets and industries, and advising the bank and its clients on strategic implications for their businesses.

It is part of a broader global team of 90 analysts, located in major food production regions of the world.

In addition to managing the RaboResearch team, Tim advises corporate and rural clients across a multitude of sectors on a issues ranging from the rise of substitute foods, why supply chains must change #BananaCongress21 11 Speakers Congress Handbook and winning consumer trust. He is a regular facilitator at Rabobank’s Executive Development Program and hosts their regional podcast channel.

Prior to his current role, Tim Hunt was the global strategist and team leader of Rabobank’s dairy research team – based in New York. Tim’s responsibilities included analysing developments in the regional and global dairy markets, co-ordinating Rabobank’s medium term dairy forecasts, advising Rabobank on its engagement with the dairy industry, advising clients on the implications of market developments for their businesses, and assisting with mergers and acquisitions advisory.

In his time with Rabobank, Tim has regularly visited and engaged with clients in North America, Latin America, China, South East Asia and Western Europe.

Tim is a regular and highly sought after speaker at local and international conferences. Tim is a professional economist with 25 years’ experience, gained through working with leading financial institutions and strategic consultancies in Australia, England and the United States. Tim graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1993 with an honours degree in Economics and Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Arts degrees.

Australian Banana Industry Congress 2021 icon

Shane Templeton

Australian Ginger Industry Association
Buderim Ginger

Shane is a third-generation farmer who helps run the family farming business. Templeton Farming Enterprises is based at Eumundi in Queensland with farming operations expanding from Gympie to Maryborough.

Shane has served as a Company Director for Buderim Ginger Limited and is the President of the Australian Ginger Industry Association (AGIA). In recent years this role has included navigating major production battles like Pythium outbreaks in ginger, which decimated the industry. Shane was also involved with Biosecurity Australia’s Import Risk Assessment for fresh ginger imports, leading to significant biosecurity measures implemented industry wide.

Shane holds a Bachelor of Business from Queensland University of Technology and has completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors course.

Australian Banana Industry Congress 2021 icon

Ridley Bell

Founder / Owner
Mountain Blue Farms Pty Ltd.

Ridley is the founder/owner of Mountain Blue farms in NSW, Australia. He has been actively involved in the blueberry industry in Australia since 1975, when he commenced assessing Northern Highbush seedlings at the Horticultural Research Institute in Knoxfield. He released the variety Brigitta from that program.

In 1981 he moved to Northern NSW to
grow low chilling varieties that would ripen in the window between the end of the northern hemisphere season and the start of the season in a number of southern hemisphere countries.

Since that time he has released a number of new blueberry varieties for warm climate areas around the world, assessing approximately 5000 seedlings from up to 120 crosses each year. The breeding program has had a strong emphasis on consumer quality, never compromising on flavour, as well as fruit size, crunch and productivity. To date, MBO varieties have been licenced in 23 countries around the world under exclusive contracts, and sought after because of the emphasis on flavour, crunch and yields.

Mountain Blue Farms is a vertically integrated company, breeding new varieties, growing the plants on in a wholesale nursery, harvesting fruit from over 120 hectares and marketing blueberries, as well as raspberries and strawberries through its marketing company. In 2010, Ridley received the NSW Farmer of the Year award.

Australian Banana Industry Congress 2021 icon

Jack Milbank

Lexi Tech

Jack Millbank was brought up on a mixed farming property in Zimbabwe. He completed a BAppSc at The University of QLD, Australia in 2001. Jack has worked in a diverse range of farming, ag-tech, geotechnical, analytical, food and beverage industries. He started at Crop Tech and T-Systems before moving onto AUSVEG as the North Australian IDO. He then began growing fruit in the Mary Valley, and in 2009 Jack became the CEO of Hortus Technical Services, Australia’s leading independent certified laboratory and agronomic services company.

In 2013 Jack founded a microbial biotechnology company – Biofilm Crop Protection Pty Ltd. A year later he founded the Bargara Brewing Company, producing Craft Beer, Cider & Seltzer. In November 2019 Hortus and Biofilm, merged to form Novum Lifesciences.

In 2020, Jack founded Lexi Tech (Singapore) as a Global Ag Tech Data Management company. AgPro is the cornerstone SaaS technology platform and data hub underpinning agronomics, product distribution and application. Data partners around the world use AgPro to service 400 crops grown by over 3000 farmers covering over one million ha in over 20 countries.

Jack and his family own property in Bundaberg and in 2020 established Hartwood Smart Farm as Australia’s only purebred Tuli cattle stud. The stud uses advanced genomics, FTAI, and a collection of genetics incorporating 13 bulls selected by CSIRO and imported from Zimbabwe in the 1990s. “Hartwood Tuli’s” form the nucleus herd of pure genetics to contribute to composite herds around the world. Six Hartwood Tuli bulls are currently having their full genome mapped as part of a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation research project investigating bovine parasite resistance in Sub-Saharan dairy production.

As a 2006/7 Nuffield Scholar studying “Globally competitive horticultural production processing and marketing using renewable energy”, he spent time researching best practice agronomic management, product processing, clean energy and marketing in India, New Zealand, China, UAE, UK and the US.

Jack has had an active involvement in finding solutions to improve the efficiency and profitability of producers by facilitating the optimal use of crop production inputs through monitoring, testing, research, training and consulting services that represent global best practice.

Australian Banana Industry Congress 2021 icon

Tony Catt

Catapult Wealth

With nearly three decades of experience in the finance industry, Tony has seen many market changes. Tony has a background in accounting, research, stockbroking and financial planning which allows him to provide a broad range of advice to his clients at different stages of their life. Tony has significant experience in sharemarkets and succession planning for farming clients. He has presented at Regional Skill Training, the Australian Shareholders Association, regional TAFE and the ASX Investor Hours.

After marrying into a farming family over 20 years ago, Tony decided to provide more help to family businesses in South Australia. Succession planning, retirement planning, education of the next generation and protection of wealth are major issues that have been identified. Tony is ideally skilled to help families and as a specialist Self-Managed Super Fund adviser, Tony has the ability to transition clients into retirement with cost effective, tailored retirement solutions.

Keep it simple is his main approach and he ensures that you understand every facet of how your money is invested.


Date: Friday 1May 2021
Time: 7:00pm -Late
Venue: AuditoriumCairns Convention Centre
Dresscode: After 5 or formal 

A highlight of every Congress, the 2021 Banana Ball will not disappoint. 

Be part of the celebration, as we recognise some of our industry’s best and enjoy live entertainment in a stunning setting.  

 We have special guests to provide exciting entertainment. And the dance floor will be ready and waiting. Three-course meal and drinks included. 

Sponsored By

2019 Partner - VISY
Australian Banana Industry Congress 2021 icon

Andrew Bate

Managing Director & CEO
SwarmFarm Robotics

Andrew is the creator and CEO of SwarmFarm Robotics. He is the chief visionary who leveraged his experience as a successful grain farmer to lead the 2015 launch of SwarmFarm Robotics. He grew up on a cropping and cattle farm south of Emerald in Queensland and studied agronomy at university. He spent his earlier life as an agronomist in the grain and cotton industries, before returning to grain and cattle farming, and then cofounding SwarmFarm Robotics. In 2018 he was awarded Agripreneur of the Year at the Australian Future Agro Challenge, and in 2019 he came third overall in the Global Agripreneur of the Year award.

Australian Banana Industry Congress 2021 icon

Tate Connolly

Marketing Manager
Horticulture Innovation Australia

Tate Connolly started as the Hort Innovation Marketing Manager for Australian Bananas in 2018.

Prior to this role, Tate spent ten years in foodservice marketing including Nando’s and Wagamama where she specialised in brand management and communications, leading both brands through global expansions. Tate is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Tate has a passion for building and developing brands so that they come to life in the minds and hearts of consumers. Combining this with a love of the latest tech and innovation, Tate blends her classical marketing training with the ever moving digital media world to strive for forward thinking campaigns that deliver results back to industry.

Tate lives and breathes all things food. Whether it be discovering new ingredients or new cuisines through her travels or developing recipes with some old favourites – she even runs a twice yearly pop up restaurant!

Australian Banana Industry Congress 2021 icon

Trent DePaoli

Entrepreneur / Farmer / Investor / Innovator
De Paoli Orchards

An experienced entrepreneur, even at a young age Trent had a passion for solving problems with innovation and creating long standing companies that create a better world for tomorrow. As an “over the horizon” thinker, he wakes with the ambition of creating a better world and leveraging business as the platform to do this. During the last 24 years, he has taken revolutionary new products to market, built international supply and demand chains, brought new technologies to commercialisation, created unique consumer brands and built world class leadership teams. Trent and his family own several avocado orchards in the Bundaberg region and he is an investor in start-up companies and companies wishing to scale up.

Trent has served on many industry, government and private enterprise boards such as the Ag Industry Advisory Council (Federal Government), Strategic Investment Group for Horticulture Innovation Australia, farmer reference groups for the National Farmers Federation, private family enterprises and more. In 2013 he was honoured to receive a Nuffield Scholarship and has since gone on to represent Nuffield at many functions.

His time at the University of Queensland graduating as a Food Technologist was critical to help frame his thinking for the future with science, technology and foresight. Trent is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

His favourite saying is “remain flexible to remain relevant” and Charles Darwin’s outstanding theory which he has shortened to simply “you are either growing or you’re dying, there is nowhere in between”.

Man wearing a suit and a South Australian Police pin
Australian Banana Industry Congress 2021 icon

Derrick McManus

Former Operative with the elite Special Tasks And Rescue (STAR) Group of the South Australian Police

• Shot 14 times – in less than 5 seconds
• Massive injuries
• Lying on the ground for 3 hours before rescue
• Body closed down and saw ‘the white light’
• Two years later returned to full duties

Derrick was a sniper, diver and counterterrorist operative with the elite Police STAR Group. He knows what it takes to perform at the highest levels. He knows what it takes to sustain optimal performance. He knows what it takes to drive your teams to both with less stress than they probably experience now.

Derrick now has research collaborations with University of South Australia School of Psychology and the Australian Centre of Excellence for PTSD into going beyond resilience to what he calls Human Durability.

This is not only an amazing story, it also provides some pragmatic insights into how you and your team can perform at higher levels with less stress and more satisfaction.

Australian Banana Industry Congress 2021 icon

Billy Slater

Banana Ambassador

We’re delighted that NRL legend and longtime banana ambassador Billy Slater will be joining us at Congress in Cairns.

Regarded as one of the greatest rugby league players of all time, Billy began his career playing for Brothers in Innisfail. His childhood in the Far North Queensland banana heartland, and his stellar NRL record, make him a perfect fit for Australian Bananas. He’s been fulfilling that role for more than 15 years.

Billy retired from the NRL in 2018 but continues to be a regular fixture in the media. With his wife, Nicole, he runs Slater Thoroughbreds and the Move with Billy app.

Welcome Reception

Date: Wednesday 12 May 2021
Time: 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Venue: Poolside, Pullman Cairns International
Dresscode: Smart Casual 

Join us poolside at Cairns Convention Centre to kick off the Australian Banana Industry Congress in style.  

 The perfect chance to catch-up with friends, network with industry stakeholders, enjoy a beverage and relax before the dynamic 2021 event begins in earnest.  

 Live music and canapés will add to the atmosphere – and bonus points for coming dressed in a banana theme!

Sponsored By

2019 Partner - Mackays Marketing


Date: Thursday 13 May 2021
Time: 12:00pm – 1:30pm
Venue: Cairns Convention Centre
Dresscode: Smart Casual 

Pullman Cairns International is a unique hotel that reflects the ambiance and spirit of Far North Queensland and exudes the architectural style and grandeur of the city’s rich colonial past. Join us for the Banana Women’s network luncheon on the second floor of the Pullman Cairns International at the Kingsford’s Lounge. Included is a two-course plated lunch and a welcome beverage on arrival.

Australian Banana Industry Congress 2021 Icon


Date: Thursday 13 May 2021
Time: 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Venue: Exhibition ArenaCairns Convention Centre
Dresscode: Smart Casual 

This is your chance to mingle with fellow growers and get some one-on-one time with the wide-range of industry stakeholders taking part in the Australian Banana Industry Congress. 

You’ll get a chance to explore banana research, the latest industry-relevant products and programs that can help you better your farm. Drinks and canapés included. 

Pakall Happy Hour brought to you by:

Australian Banana Industry Congress 2021 icon

Matt Church

Thought Leaders

Matt Church is a seeker of truth, sharing his learning through teaching and writing. As the founder of Thought Leaders and a highly respected conference presenter, he
communicates, connects and challenges audiences and himself to be the best version of themselves.

Matt invites all leaders to expand their view of what is and find true inspiration. Highly intuitive, Matt experiences much of life beyond the observable and explainable. His ability
to make the complex simple and the way forward clear, has him speaking all over the world. Grounding big ideas in practical perspectives, the evolution of Matt’s thinking can
be traced through the eleven books he has written.

Always one to draw a line in the sand, his latest book Rise Up; an evolution in leadership represents the next level for Matt, as he turns inwards to understand and apply
age old wisdom to leadership.

Clear and focused, gentle and affirming. Unequivocal.
To follow Matt’s unfolding thinking, go to mattchurch.com
You can learn about Thought leaders at thoughtleaders.com.au