Hort Innovation is a not-for-profit, grower-owned Research and Development Corporation for Australia’s $9 billion horticulture industry. Hort Innovation invests more than $100 million in research, development and marketing programs annually.
Nuffield Australia 2020 Scholarship winner
Catherine Velisha from Werribee, Victoria, receives a Nuffield Scholarship with support from Hort Innovation to undertake research into how horticultural family businesses can build and harness the skills they need to be competitive in the marketplace.
Catherine recently took ownership of her family’s 153-hectare integrated horticulture business, comprising three properties at Tatura, Caldermeade and Werribee South. Across these farms, she grows, supplies and markets cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, spring onions, kale and a variety of herbs into both wholesale markets and supermarkets.
Recognising the challenges faced by family farms in the horticultural sector, Catherine’s study will focus on the opportunities and strengths unique to the family farm business model, and how to better leverage these to obtain and retain a competitive advantage.
“With the majority of Australian farming businesses being family owned and operated, it’s paramount these businesses can be sustainable and grow into the future,” Catherine said.
“I’m keen to identify and evaluate the external factors influencing the performance of family horticulture businesses, and ultimately develop a ‘tool box’ to help family businesses stay competitive in our industry.”
Travelling to the United Kingdom, United States, Europe and China, Catherine intends to explore the structures and strategies that enable family businesses to thrive in these advanced and competitive markets and bring those lessons home.