2019 NGISA Summit, March 20

SUMMIT gives good direction for industry

The first NGISA Summit was held immediately after Trade Day on March 20 and attracted more than 40 industry people, including growers, allied traders, retailers, hot media and landscaping representatives.

“We were really pleased with the attendance but more importantly, the quality input that people provided during the two hour session,” said Neville Sloss, NGISA’s Communications Manager.

“After discussing threats and weaknesses confronting the industry and gardening in general, the Summit focussed on the strengths and opportunities that the industry has ahead.”

The session moderator was NGISA member and gardening personality, Kim Syrus,  who steered the lively discussion.

All agreed that inspiration and communication were two keywords in any future activity to promote the industry and that a vital tool was the use of social media.

Overriding the activities, was a general feeling that NGISA itself needed to have more of a marketing focus and not an advocacy focus.

Some of the key points raised included:


  • Not selling online
  • Industry is a low value employer
  • We talk ourselves down
  • Not enough information for the younger generations
  • A lack of independent garden centres
  • Widely dispersed industry
  • Lack of marketing by association


  • Lack of knowledgeable staff
  • Perception of the industry as a ‘backyard’ one
  • Public & government don’t understand us or our industry
  • Brunnings continuing expansion
  • Biosecurity issues
  • Supermarkets selling plants
  • Lack of revenue from magazine
  • Climate ready practices
  • Lack of water or drought


Turning to the strengths, the Summit came up with a wide range of points some of them presented here:

  • Qualified and knowledgeable staff
  • We’re the original ‘green’ industry with a wonderful green product
  • There is a good representation of sectors in our association
  • We’re a value-adding industry
  • We’re very good at sharing with each other
  • Family backed
  • We can move easily with the trends
  • Our ‘own’ quality gardening magazine



When the Opportunities were discussed, there was excellent input from the participants. Ideads included:

  • Grow on-line sales, ie Click & Collect
  • Market more as green landscapers
  • Make better use of knowledgeable staff
  • Social media offers much more opportunity for promotion
  • Should help members develop their social media
  • We must market our SA ‘roots’ – get behind ‘I choose SA’ campaign
  • Get retailers together to market themselves
  • Utilise our SA Gardens & Outdoor Living magazine more
  • Increase membership
  • See Bunnings as an opportunity not a threat
    • Need to position independents at a higher level
    • We have superior knowledge and quality of service
    • Garden centres should provide inspiration – Bunnings don’t do it
  • Indoor plants – the trend is here to stay
  • Younger generations want information
  • NGISA and members can provide that information using social media
  • Reinforce the connection to nature through our products, including indoor plants
  • We are a ‘trusted industry and a trusted association

Several participants stated that we need to connect with younger generations much more than ever and to build upon the nature and plants selling points.

The outcomes of the meeting was that all points will be presented in a report to the board and used as input for the Board in setting its strategic plan ahead.

In summing up NGISA President David Eaton said the board really appreciated the opportunity to gather the collective thinking of such a good a cross section of industry.

“The session has provided us with some valuable input into where we need to focus our efforts and resources and what we need to do to help grow our industry in the years ahead.”