President’s Annual Report, June 2013
I am pleased to present the 5th Presidents Annual Report to members of the International Blackcurrant Association (IBA) after my first year as President.
In general the IBA has been developing internally as well as in its industry and marketing activities. The Rules of the IBA were approved at our 2012 AGM and so now act as our formal platform. The overall key strategies of the IBA are now developed and we gradually implement them as our budget permits.
Internally we have established an Executive forum based on the GM, the President and 2 vice-presidents (northern and southern hemisphere). We meet by Skype call every month, ensuring the close communication needed to develop and implement activities. But these Skype calls also require a lot of resources. The Board was elected on the basis of skills; and allows us to use experience at many levels. I’m happy to see all Board members contribute from their specific core areas.
The IBA conference 2012 in Dundee
One of our key-strategies is to support and develop the annual conference. The conference in Dundee 2012 was joined by more than 180 attendees, showing the high interest from all levels in the blackcurrant industry. Our conferences are a unique forum where we share knowledge and inspiration: they cover most aspects of the value chain from growers to marketers and customers. And so they are a fundamental part of the IBA activities. Thanks to the organizing team in Dundee, supported by our General Manager, Bill Floyd: this conference was a success.
Poland – a new member of the IBA
Poland is now a financial member of the IBA. We are all very pleased to see Poland, as the major producer of blackcurrants, finally succeeded in organising a Foundation (the KSPCP). The KSPCP can take responsibility in national as well as international affairs. It has already achieved success in high-lighting the need of modernizing the national forecasts of annual production of berries in Poland. We appreciate the KSPCP’s close connection to the IBA. This year, we invite a member of the KSPCP to join an extended IBA board.
Connections to national news media are essential. The recently established industry magazine, Jagodnik, is now a part of our Polish media communication network; it provides access directly to the Polish regions.
Agronomy & Plant Breeders Sector Group
The annual conference in 2013 has been extended with an Agronomist and Plant Breeders Forum. The Forum is an activity of the newly formed Agronomy & Plant Breeders Sector Group, a new organisation managed by Jim Grierson; and so a part of the IBA activities. Once established it will find its own development, giving close networking to its members, and linked to the annual IBA conferences. The Sector Group’s activities will of course be of great interest to many, but we have to respect that much of their work will be in closed shop. I’d like to thank Jim Grierson for chairing the initiation of this Sector Group.
During 2012-2013 the IBA was significantly involved in planning the Sector Group’s first Forum and this has added a lot of knowledge to our own Executive team; especially insight into Russian production and research. But, prioritising our resources means that Sector Group needs to be “self-running” and “self-funded”.
Your Executive has to balance how to implement the various key strategies with limited financial resources.
Statement of account
Revenues are achieved by (a) financial memberships at 45 % of total revenues, and (b) sponsorships 2013/14 at 55 %. Our budget 2013/14 indicates total revenue at â‚¬37200. Unfortunately, to achieve balance between revenues and expenses, adjustment is needed and so the General Administration costs will be reduced by decreasing the numbers of Exec Skype-meetings from 12 to 6. Development of Sector-Groups is still a key- strategy but not a main-priority. Instead we need them to be developed by voluntary support. Our main focus is still: Conferences; general management; Country Associations; science/ market development. And of course, keeping close connections to members and sponsors. In order to achieve more activities, we need more revenues and especially sponsorships would be welcome. Bill is working on this as a main-priority, but I’d like to call on all of you to act as ambassadors and introduce us to potential sponsors.
The IBA is still developing as seen in 2012/13 with the success of our conference in Dundee, Poland becoming a financial member, assistance with the Ag/PB Sector-Group, and closer relations to Russia. I’ll like to thank the Board for their support, giving expertise and experience where needed. Thanks especially to my Vice – Presidents for their contributions year round, proving sound focus advice and support. Thanks to all members and sponsors: your support makes it possible to maintain and develop the IBA. And most of all thanks to our innovative General Manager, Bill Floyd, who works with great respect for our industry and the IBA’s Vision.
I wish we had a larger budget to achieve more activities, but we have to be responsible and we have to make the best of what we have!