Sun rises on sustainable farming

  • Business

NAB customer Sun City Produce’s focus on sustainability and technology-driven efficiency is “bringing new energy to an old farm.”

  • 04.05.2023
  • Time to read 1 min read
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The story of Sun City Produce began thirty-eight years ago when Bao Duy Nguyen’s parents Be Nguyen and Nghi Tran arrived in Western Australia as refugees.

Initially finding work as farm labourers in Geraldton it wasn’t long until the young parents purchased their own farm while raising their children Bao Duy, his brother Bao La and sister Cam.

Together the family has built the business Sun City Produce, a family owned and operated farm, that produces high-quality vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes and capsicums.

Keeping it in the family

The family business owners (L-R): Bao Duy, Nghi (Mum), Bao la, Be (Dad).

After attending university and pursuing their own careers Bao Duy and Bao La returned to the farm to grow the family business.

“My brother studied accounting, and I did civil engineering and my sister is a medical scientist,” Sun City Produce Managing Director Bao Duy said.

“My brother moved back before I did. I moved back here about nine years ago. My brother and I worked pretty well together and we thought there was an opportunity for us to improve the farm in other ways, mostly through technology.

Passionate about innovation, he was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship in 2020 to study Horticulture globally.

“I wanted to confirm that this is the right way to do things. So I travelled to Israel, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, US and California and I found that they were having success with low tech greenhouses and converting to hydroponics,” Bao Duy said.

“I even travelled back to Vietnam. I saw others doing really well in a simple system and I could replicate that here.”

Sustainable solutions

Bao Duy returned with many new ideas to improve production and make sure the business grew with sustainable farming practices. NAB has helped to fund this growth.

The business delivers year-round production – not just the traditional winter crop – and has grown from harvesting cucumbers alone to multiple lines of vegetables. These are distributed through sales channels including wholesale, Sun City branded products in retail outlets and sales in the local Geraldton area .

 

There’s growing recognition of the importance of sustainability as a business issue with over 1 in 3 Australian consumers believing business bears a responsibility to operate sustainably. Almost 1 in 5 SMEs strongly intend to invest to improve the sustainability of their business over the next two years.   (NAB Economics Business Insights, March 2023).

Technology driven efficiency

Now Bao Duy and his family are focused on running progressive, technology and sustainability-driven farming sites in their area.

“Our parents were so busy making a living that…they plateaued a bit in introducing new technology and that kind of stuff to make the farm more efficient,” Bao Duy said.

The brothers are reinvesting in systems that build more sustainable farming practices, like a water recycling system on the thirty-five-year-old farm to collect the drain water, sanitise it and reuse it to grow their crops.

“One of the things we we’re proud of is that we’re trying not to waste anything. So we are more sustainable in that way,” he said.

 

 

“We don’t want to be left behind in these kind of things. And coming from an engineering background, it does interest me to add new technology into what we do and what we can improve.”

These new technologies have seen both the crops and family flourish.

“I think my parents were starting to retire when we introduced these new things but now they want to oversee it and are excited by it. So they’re not retiring anytime soon. They’re very proud of it. And yeah, it’s bringing a new energy to an old farm,” Bao Duy said.

NAB’s support

NAB continues to provide finance to help customers like Sun City Produce deliver innovative solutions that drive sustainability and efficiency.

NAB’s Half Year 2023 Results calls out businesses transitioning towards a more sustainable future with NAB’s new Agri Green Loan and business finance for green equipment.

 

NAB’s Half Year Result

Today the bank released its 2023 Half Year Results.

NAB CEO, Ross McEwan, said business growth was strong, contributing to the bank’s financial performance in the past six months.

“I’m out with customers every week and they continue telling me that business growth is strong,” Mr McEwan said.

“They say it’s still hard to get labour with the jobless rate remaining near historic lows.

“Our HY results show NAB has delivered another strong financial performance. These results reflect the consistent execution of our long-term strategy over the more than three years since we announced it.

“This strategy is focused on delivering better outcomes for our customers and colleagues – regardless of the environment – and it is serving our customers and our bank well.”

For more information on Sun City Produce visit their website.

View NAB’s 2023 Half Year Results announcement here.

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