VG06066 LOTE Grower Communications

A survey conducted in 2005, identified 40 per cent of Australian growers were from a Language Other Than English (LOTE) background.

This project has looked at ways of enabling LOTE growers to access R&D projects and integrate them into the mainstream vegetable industry.

This project looked at the underlying issues that were crucial when communicating R&D outcomes to non-English speaking vegetable growers.

Richard Mulcahy
Lucy Jarman
Hugh Tobin
Alan Davey

VG06066 LOTE (Language Other than English)Communications Program for the Vegetable
Industry - 2009
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Introduction :

The Australian vegetable industry is highly diverse in the types of produce grown, geographic areas and grower demographics.

In particular LOTE growers have difficulties understanding political decisions of government surrounding seasonal labour, working visas, immigration restrictions and laws.

The vegetable industry tends to be state focussed with limited communication between growers within and across the states. Again, this problem is exacerbated with LOTE groups who tend to cluster geographically and stay within their own communities due to language and cultural barriers.

Some communication across states does exist within language groups and this been further developed and improved upon during the course of this project.

LOTE growers receive communication through a wide variety of channels that vary for each language group and geographic area.

In the past, this communication has been ad hoc, mostly delivered in English and with little coordination between organisations or states.

In most cases, the best form of communication is through existing trusted networks, including government and commercial agronomists and bilingual officers, chemical resellers and rural suppliers, grower associations and often by word of mouth.

Communication levels with these audiences are relatively low and therefore LOTE growers do not benefit to the extent that they should from R&D projects.

Project Outcomes :

  • This project has found that LOTE growers appreciate the value of the LOTE project and its aims and objectives and are eager to participate and help the project to progress.
  • In each state around Australia, LOTE growers have formed their own associations or community groups and have helped each other with translating industry R&D.
  • When encouraged and helped with coordination, larger LOTE grower associations in each state have been willing to support smaller LOTE communities and groups in other parts of Australia.
  • At the time of this report, no such group exists in the Northern Territory, however, there is interest in forming a group amongst growers in the outskirts of Darwin.
  • Case studies on growers from certain areas in Australia have been profiled in Vegetables Australia magazine.
  • Translation and a greater understanding by industry of the hardship and difficulties that LOTE growers face was an important issue raised by many growers.
  • LOTE growers have great difficulty understanding labels on chemicals and pesticides. In some instances this has lead to growers facing fines from the APVMA because they cannot read labels on chemicals.

Acknowledgements :

Due to staff changes in AUSVEG, the LOTE steering committee has changed since the project began.
Changes to the steering committee included:

  1. Alan Davey, RIRDC Senior Research Manager replaced
    his predecessor John Oakeshott

  2. Richard Mulcahy, AUSVEG CEO replaced
    John Roach
    , former AUSVEG CEO

  3. Hugh Tobin, AUSVEG Communications Manager replaced
    Lisa Maguire, former AUSVEG General Manager/Director Communication
  4. Lucy Jarman AUSVEG Communications Officer replaced
    Project Officer Hannah Burns, former AUSVEG Communications Coordinator.

The authors acknowledge the following for their contribuition to this project :

  • Helena Whitman, former AUSVEG Environmental Manager
  • Toni Davies, former AUSVEG Communications Manager
  • Barry Lee, Connectica International
  • Alison Anderson, New South Wales Industry Development Officer
  • Melissa Fraser, South Australian Industry Development Officer
  • Department of Primary Industries
  • Northern Territory Horticultural Association
  • Vegetable Industry State Associations
  • Virginia Horticulture Centre

This project has been facilitated by the Rural Industries Research Development Corporation (RIRDC) and Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL)
in partnership with AUSVEG through the National Vegetable Research and Development Levy.

The Australian Government provides matched funding for all HAL’s R&D activities.

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