Three key contributors to the development of the Australian mango industry were recognised for their outstanding commitment at the 12th Australian Mangoes Conference.
L-R Robert Gray-CEO, Peter and Dianne Marks, Rob Vennard, Ken Rayner and Ben Martin-Chairman.
Peter Marks, together with his wife Dianne, set up one of the first horticultural operations in Katherine and were committed to the mango industry for the last 30 years.
As well as having served on both the Australian Mango Industry Association and Northern Territory Mango Industry Association boards, Mr Marks was an industry leader, producing high quality produce for domestic and export markets.
He was also a strong advocate for the mango industry quality standards, in particular the flavour standards, measured by dry matter testing with near infrared (NIR) machines.
Ken Rayner was recognised for his ongoing contribution to mango breeding. He has been cross-pollinating mango trees for over three decades; with the aim of producing advanced mango rootstocks and creating new varieties.
Two new varieties have recently been commercialised; Lady Jane and Lady Grace.
Rob Vennard was the visionary behind Manbulloo’s plantation in Katherine. At the time there was no other operation in existence like it and he is essentially responsible for transforming the Northern Territory (NT) mango industry.
Mr Vennard also contributed to the development of exporting Australian mangoes, through his involvement in the grower marketing group Australian Mango Exports.
Australian Mangoes CEO, Robert Gray, said Peter Marks, Ken Rayner and Rob Vennard were great visionaries who contributed enormously to making the Australian mango industry what it is today.