Monday, May 26, 2008

ISA HK/China --- Nursery Accreditation Scheme in Australia

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Dear Station Members,

During the trip to the ISA Brisbane Conference in Australia 2 weeks ago, the Station Manager has picked up information on the Nursery Accreditation Scheme of Australia (NIASA) as per attached for reference.

The NIASA is a guide for Australian buyers to find plant suppliers of guaranteed & reliable products produced under best management practice guidelines in their landscape industry. It helps bring their landscape industry to a professional level with quality plants produced in an acceptable environment, notably without pollution & pests & with quality meeting national standards, to install the landscape in Australia. NIASA is also a recognition of quality & service to meet designated requirements at a national level. It gives buyers the peace of mind & justification of expenditure in using products produced under the NIASA scheme.

In HK, we have a similar scheme for picking landscape contractors & material suppliers in Govt projects. We also have similar scheme for vegetables, animals & fisheries supply, but apparently not for landscape plant suppliers. Certain projects would sometimes create a short listing for plant suppliers, but would usually base it upon nursery size, species & varieties, & hardly upon production method, plant quality to meet international requirements, packaging & transportation mode like under NIASA. Plants especially trees arrived on site would hardly be compared with the same so seen in the nursery, & detailed arrival inspection before planting is rare. Then if we compare our plants & trees from China so installed immediately on site with that of NIASA, or even against the image drawings at the design stages, ever common housewives can tell the difference.

Can HK propose a similar scheme like NIASA for our landscape plants & trees supply? If so, this will require a revolution in concept & practice from production, packaging, transport mode to site arrival inspection at both nursery level & site administration. In the opinion of this Station, this will be harder than hard at present if we demand our brothers & sisters up north to change their production practices from current to that of the advanced world. Our contractors would also advocate for the China suppliers since changes would bring uncertainties in contract bidding & execution. Livelihood could be at stake. Additional workload can also be foreseen for the project management team as well. Therefore, if things would carry on the same old way, everybody would be happy & there will be no rocking of the boat. After all, how often would HK try to compare our landscape with that of the advanced world these days? We might not even win that of Shenzhen nowadays ...

Therefore, with hardly any nursery willing to take up the challenge in China (let's take away ETF for a moment), the introduction of NIASA there may be viewed as an ' Violation of sovereignty of the Motherland ' by a lot of interest groups. HK would carry on the same old way to use the same old plants for our landscape, & may we stay happy & never try to compare ourselves with the world.

Some say HK is being ' marginalized ' after 1997 in many areas & is slowly dropping away from the ' 4 Little Dragons ' , & may we wish this would not be true for our trees & landscape as well.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

The ISA Mission - Through research, technology, and education, promote the professional practice of arboriculture and foster a greater public awareness of the benefits of trees. (

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