Grain growers’ tour to Europe is up in the air

Cally DupeCountryman
Some of the CBH Grower Study Tour paricipants at Nisshin Flour Milling's Tsurumi Mill in Japan.
Camera IconSome of the CBH Grower Study Tour paricipants at Nisshin Flour Milling's Tsurumi Mill in Japan. Credit: Cally Dupe

CBH is still deciding whether to push on with its annual grower study tour in September, after banning its own staff from travelling overseas or interstate.

The company told Countryman this week it was still “reviewing impacts across the business” caused by the COVID-10 outbreak, including the planned trip to Europe in September. The company last month changed the destination and timing of its annual grower study tour in a bid to shield participants from coronavirus.

For the past decade, the annual grower study tour has taken dozens of CBH members to grain-buying countries to visit manufacturers, processors, flour and feed mills, and ports.

CBH had originally planned to take more than 40 growers to China and the Philippines from June 22 to July 4, but cancelled the that trip as the coronavirus death toll rose.

CBH chief executive Jimmy Wilson laid out the company’s coronavirus precautions in an email to the grain handler and marketer’s grower members last week.

The email, obtained by Countryman, revealed staff had been banned from international or interstate travel as part of a range of “precautionary measures”.

CBH’s essential business teams — including marketing and trading — have been told to work in shift rotations.

Other staff have been told to work at home, while non-essential travel within WA has been restricted and staff have been told to avoid meetings or events.

Mr Wilson said the global pandemic had not yet affected CBH’s storage and handling, or marketing and trading operations.

However, he said the company was receiving regular updates from governments.

“Our business is continuing to operate as usual, and we will continue to receive regular updates on the situation from authorities and enact plans to provide a safe and healthy workplace for our people, and minimise the impacts of the virus on our supply chain as the situation escalates,” he said.

When asked whether CBH would cancel the tour, a spokeswoman said the tour was one “impact across the business” being assessed by CBH.

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