NICK Trandos’s mark on Australia’s vegetable industry has been celebrated with an AUSVEG Lifetime Achievement Award at 2015 National Awards for Excellence on the Gold Coast.
The horticulture industry’s premier awards recognise leaders across multiple areas of the Australian vegetable, potato, apple and pear industries.
Mr Trandos, of Joondalup, fought for introduction of a National Vegetable Levy and Plant Breeders Rights while leading the national horticultural body.
He said both had improved the sector by generating funds for the industry, providing backing for key research and encouraging people to breed quality produce.
“They were the two major things I fought for,” he said. “I’m a determined sort of person and I try to make changes.”
AUSVEG chief executive Richard Mulcahy said Mr Trandos deserved to be recognised for his achievements including his role within the WA Market Gardeners’ Association, the Australian Growers’ Federation and his role in establishing the levy.
“Nick is an exemplary grower who has worked tirelessly on a wide variety of industry issues, representing the interests of not only West Australian vegetable growers, but growers from all over the country,” he said.
“He consistently engages with the industry and strives for excellence in his every endeavour, especially his efforts in the establishment of the National Vegetable Levy, which invests around $20 million annually in industry research and development.”
Mr Trandos said reducing chemical use and introducing options, such as breeding bugs to control the ones affecting corn crops, was one of the many benefits of the levy.
“(The researcher) eventually came up with a bug that has total control; they go out and consume the eggs that are laid by these bugs we don’t want in the corn,” he said.
“Hopefully the industry will be able to have enough controls with other bugs that are not affecting the crops and do away totally with pesticide sprays.
“That’s what can be achieved by this levy.”
Mr Trandos said the Plant Breeders Rights was an incentive for people to breed and improve vegetables.
“If you breed something and people like it and they buy your seed, you get a percentage of that seed,” he said. “Our vegetables quality has improved over the years because of that. It encouraged people to work hard and come up with something new and something better.”
Mr Trandos said his family had been recognised at the awards over the years, winning Grower of the Year four years ago and Young Grower of the Year the following one.
Wanneroo Agricultural Society president Dot Newton said they were pleased and proud to learn of the latest award bestowed on Mr Trandos. She said he was not only a life member of the society but also a great supporter in the local community.
Mr Trandos was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to local government and the Australian vegetable industry in 1998, and was inducted in WA’s Royal Agricultural Society Hall of Fame in 2012.
He is a freeman of the cities of Wanneroo and Joondalup.