The passion Robbie Davis shows in boosting the State’s reputation for producing premium produce day in, day out has earned her a prestigious title.
She was presented the Rural Industries, Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) Rural Women’s Award on Monday night, recognising her tireless work over many years.
“I feel very privileged and honoured to be awarded this,” she said.
The Meningie woman has a long association with the primary industry, currently standing as the chief executive officer of Potatoes South Australia as well as running a beef cattle property in the Upper South East.
She has also lived and worked in South East Asia where she gained significant experience in global markets, before establishing her own agribusiness consultancy.
Now, she shows determination towards increasing productivity within the potato industry and horticulture sector by researching ways to reduce food waste and loss in the supply chain.
“The easiest way to increase productivity is by decreasing waste,” she said.
“There’s 20-40 per cent which can not make the (supermarket shelf) grade.
“And that 20-40 per cent that is waste still comes at a cost; those inputs are the same.”
The $10,000 bursary Ms Davis received as part of the award has given her a head start in her research, which she hopes will have a national significance.
“I plan to travel to Europe and North America where they have really advanced skills and technology for transforming food waste,” she said.
“Australia is 10 to 20 years behind North America and Europe … in what its doing with products that do not make supermarket shelves.
“We need to increase our food production by 70 per cent to meet (projected) population … how dare we waste food in the mean time?”
Agriculture Minister Leon Bignell said she was a great role model for the horticulture sector and the award would help her involvement with the various industry committees she sits on.
“The RIRDC Rural Women’s Award gives participants greater confidence, networks and leadership capacity to positively contribute to primary industries and rural Australia,” he said.
“The award supports leaders who have the desire, commitment and potential to make a greater contribution to primary industries and rural communities.”
Ms Davis was up against three other award finalists from across the State, including Karen Holder, of Port Adelaide; Linda Eldredge, of Clare; and Louisa Mondello of Gawler.
As the winner, she will represent SA at the national Rural Women’s Award in Canberra later this year.