SP Exports managing director Andrew Philip at the launch of the
SP Exports managing director Andrew Philip at the launch of the "Intense" no-mess tomato. GARY HUTCHISON

Farm gets further taste of success

A RECENTLY launched “no-mess” tomato was one of the main factors in Childers tomato farmers SP Exports winning a national award for innovation this week.

SP Exports took out the title of “future-focused farmer of the year” at the Australian Farmer of the Year awards in Sydney on Tuesday night.

Company spokesman Kevin Philip said it was an honour to scoop the award, which recognises a grower's commitment to the future of their industry, plus innovative farming and business practices.

“Awards aren't why we do what we do, but it is good to be recognised,” Mr Philip said.

“We're a fairly young team and we're really motivated to put our stamp on the industry.”

He said the company's “Intense” no-mess tomato was just one example of how SP Exports was at the forefront of a changing industry.

“The way we go about things, we are always looking for ways to change our methods for the better,” Mr Philip said.

David Egerton-Warburton, the managing director of category sponsor Agrimaster, said innovative people were essential to the continued prosperity of Australian farming.

“Every industry needs visionaries, people who envisage a better future and understand what needs to be done to achieve it,” Mr Egerton-Warburton said.

“The foundations of Australian farming have been built on these types of individuals — pioneers who turned rugged landscapes into productive farming land and later generations who have adopted new technologies and forged new markets.”

Mr Philip said the future looked bright for SP Exports, with the Intense tomato taking Australia by storm and getting ready to target an overseas market.

“Demand definitely outstrips supply at the moment,” he said.

“We have 10 growers producing (the variety) at the moment, and we are looking for more.”

The non-soggy fruit was launched less than a year ago and is available at major supermarkets across Queensland and Australia.

“We have the rights to market it to South-East Asia — it's just a matter of getting enough growers,” Mr Philip said.

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