Woolworths is proud to sponsor the Nuffield Australia Farming Scholarships program. Woolworths sees its relationships with suppliers as a huge part of its success. This is why these relationships are nurtured, and Woolworths gives back where it can. These positive relationships will provide Australia with the best possible produce, in the most sustainable way.
Nuffield Australia 2019 Scholarship winner
Jake Newnham from Campania, Tasmania, receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by Woolworths. Through his research, he will investigate how to advance Australian cherry production, most notably post-harvest packaging and handling procedures.
Located in Tasmania’s picturesque Coal River Valley, Jake is Orchard Manager of the family’s owned and operated cherry and apricot business, which produces up to 175 tonnes of fruit every year on a site totalling 23 hectares.
Jake’s scholarship will focus on cherry production in one of the world’s premium growing areas in Chile, where cherry producers have advanced in leaps and bounds from a technological point of view.
“Cherry producers in Chile grow and handle fruit with the added challenge of a 20 plus day journey to market destinations in Asia. Even with the significant transport time, their fruit arrives in very good condition, which I believe is something Australian growers could learn a lot from,” he said.
“Chile and Tasmania share similar climatic conditions, as well as export markets. Unfortunately, we’re faced with much smaller margins here in Australia, so I’m looking to unearth new techniques that could improve our fruit quality while retaining the premium price bracket.
“On farm, we’re producing up to 100 tonnes of cherries per annum, which we want to double and largely export in the next ten years. Looking longer term, the plan is to take over as Director of the business, and the Nuffield Scholarship provides me with an invaluable platform to meet leading producers and develop professionally.”
As part of his research, Jake will travel to several key growing regions in Chile, most of which are located to the south of capital, Santiago, in a province called Maule. He will also visit key cherry production areas in the United States and Canada.