Australian agriculture boosted by multi-million dollar research fund
An agricultural science fund worth $22.1 million has been set up to increase research, development and agricultural competitiveness in Western Australia. Agriculture and food minister Ken Baston and regional development minister Terry Redman announced the new Agricultural Sciences Research and Development Fund to assist the State’s agricultural and food sector compete for new export opportunities, particularly in growing markets in nearby Asia.
Through the fund, $17.4m will be allocated through two rounds of grants, ranging from $20,000 to $500,000, to incorporated grower groups for research and development across the supply chain to accelerate the adoption of science innovations that boost profitability.
A further $1.9m will go towards Pathways to Improved Competitiveness, including $20,000 to $100,000 industry consortia grants, and $1.2m will go to the Grower Group Alliance to drive industry transformation. The government aims to double the value of agriculture by 2025.
Baston also said the State Government would establish two regional food centres that would work with agriculture and food businesses throughout WA to capture premium domestic and export market opportunities.
It is part of a $4.5 million Food Industry Innovation project, which will help regional businesses develop a competitive advantage via collaboration and innovation.
Baston said the project involved allocating $3m for the establishment of a premium food centre at Manjimup and $1.5m for a specialised food centre at Albany. “By working together to overcome regional constraints and optimise advantages, regional businesses can share and leverage costs, promotion, market development and new technology.”
Redman added the project was part of the government’s $300m ‘Seizing the Opportunity Agriculture’ initiative, funded by the Royalties for Regions program, to capitalise on growing global demand for agriculture and food. “The government is committed to growing and broadening regional food businesses to differentiate their products in the highly competitive global food marketplace,” he commented.
“By working collaboratively with the agrifood industry to seize emerging opportunities and support businesses in becoming preferred suppliers of premium quality products, this project will strengthening regional economies throughout the State,” added Redman.