your-news image
NEWARK, DE -- Produce Marketing Association's first-ever affiliate is now being formed for members in Australia and New Zealand, and will officially begin operating this fall, according to association leaders.

PMA President and Chief Executive Officer Bryan Silbermann announced news of the formation of PMA Australia/New Zealand May 25 to attendees of the association's 2009 Fresh Connections: Australia & New Zealand Conference held in Sydney. The announcement comes two years after the association founded PMA's first country council in 2007 for these Southern Hemisphere countries.

"Recently our council members here told us that it was time for a stronger and more structured PMA presence in the region, so it is with great pleasure that I stand before you today to announce the creation of PMA Australia/New Zealand, the first PMA affiliated organization," Mr. Silbermann told Fresh Connections attendees. "Our partnership is evolving into the next phase because there can be no greater common interest for our industry than strengthening the global produce supply chain and building better connections globally."

Michael Simonetta, chairman of PMA's Australia/New Zealand Country Council and CEO of Perfection Fresh Australia Pty. Ltd., noted that the council has already identified priorities for PMA Australia/New Zealand that build and expand on the work started by the council. Those priorities include networking to continue PMA's successful Fresh Connections events as well as introducing Fresh Forums, local workshops that will be on hot topics and will be held in cities throughout the region. Other priorities include attracting new talent into the industry and providing training-education for existing personnel as well as being a repository for local consumer information.

PMA Australia/New Zealand will be independently incorporated in the region and will be run by a board of directors of local industry members, offering programs and services targeted for the Australia/New Zealand market.

"We are very excited to have the opportunity to localize PMA's efforts here, to help us better meet the particular needs and interests of our industry, and to better connect us globally," Mr. Simonetta, who also noted the value the new organization will provide to PMA, said in a May 28 PMA press release. "There is much we can learn from each other -- the information exchange will go two ways."

Messrs. Silbermann and Simonetta recognized the efforts of the 16 members of the Australia/New Zealand Country Council for their continued work in creating the new affiliate. They highlighted the contribution of council member Michael Worthington, managing partner of AgAlpha, who provided invaluable assistance to PMA in clarifying the needs of members from Australia and New Zealand and developing the business plan for the new organization.

PMA Australia/New Zealand will be officially unveiled in conjunction with PMA's Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition this October in Anaheim, CA.