CBH grower tour changed to Europe over coronavirus fears
CBH has changed the destination and timing of its annual grower study tour in an effort to protect participants from coronavirus.
The deadly outbreak upended CBH’s plans to take more than 40 grain growers to China and the Philippines from June 22 to July 4.
After weeks monitoring the situation, CBH told growers at 5pm today it had canned the proposed trip and would instead visit Europe in September.
“With the active outbreak of the novel coronavirus, we have reassessed the proposed destination for the grower study tour and will not be travelling to the Philippines and China,” a CBH spokeswoman said.
“Instead, we are pleased to inform growers that a study tour to Europe in September is under development.”
“The study tour will aim to provide participating growers with firsthand insights into our canola, lupins and malting barley customers’ operations with a focus on sourcing sustainably-produced grain.
“The tour will also visit some of Europe’s largest co-operatives.”
CBH opened expressions of interest for the trip last month, revealing it would visit two of Australia’s biggest grain-buying countries.
On February 13, Countryman reported that CBH was “actively monitoring the situation”, but was yet to call the trip off.
Applications for the original tour closed February 14.
With the active outbreak of the novel coronavirus, we have reassessed the proposed destination for the grower study tour and will not be travelling to the Philippines and China,
A CBH spokeswoman said a new round of applications was likely to open in coming weeks.
“Once the schedule has been developed, we will provide further details of the tour and seek expressions of interest from growers,” she said.
More than 780 million people in China are living under travel restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak, which emerged at the end of December.
The Australian Government updated its travel advice on February 2 and is recommending that Australians not travel to China due to the “increased risk” of the virus.
It has also advised travellers to “exercise a high degree of caution” when travelling to the Philippines, where two cases of the coronavirus, and one death, have been confirmed.
Arthur River farmer Sam Burgess, who planned to apply for the trip, said he was not put off by the change in location and date.
“I think it is a good idea, I don’t want to risk my health... I think its a fantastic decision by CBH,” he said.
“For me, September would work a lot better. It is a little bit quieter.”
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.
Last year’s trip to Japan and South Korea was held in September — a change from the traditional June or July tour dates.
Previous destinations included Vietnam, Indonesia, China, the Philippines, Iran, Saudia Arabia, Libya and — in a visit to one of Australia’s biggest competitors — Russia.
Grain growers interested in nominating for this year’s study tour can contact their business relationship manager.
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