New seed fund to boost Victorian horticulture

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Image credit: flickr user: Bayer CropScience

Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh has announced a $400,000 seed fund for research at the opening ceremony of Tatura’s Horticulture Centre of Excellence – an industry hub that will help growers to become more productive and access new export markets.

Image credit: flickr user: Bayer CropScience
Image credit: flickr user: Bayer CropScience

Mr Walsh said the Innovation Seed Fund was a joint initiative between the Victorian Coalition Government and the University of Melbourne, who had contributed $200,000 each.

According to the media release issued by the Premier of Victoria, the research will be co-ordinated by the Centre of Excellence and will lead to a more productive and profitable horticulture industry while fostering the next generation of agricultural researchers.

“Grants of between $5,000 and $25,000 will be available for three years from 1 January 2015 for research projects in the theme of productivity, competitiveness, improved management, disease detection and response, export marketing or industry transition. This will bring Department of Environment and Primary Industries and University of Melbourne researchers together to work on important research projects, taking advantage of each research partner’s strengths. Most of the work will be undertaken at the new Centre of Excellence,” Mr Walsh said.

“Examples of projects include research into improving productivity and competitiveness though supply chain innovation, or through better industry information management systems, or research into increasing horticultural exports through improved marketing. The Coalition Government is committed to partnering with industry to achieve the best outcomes for Victorian agriculture and this joint research fund will help to create a more productive, profitable and a sustainable horticulture industry.”

Mr Walsh said the Victorian Government’s share of the $400,000 partnership had been funded through the Coalition’s Food to Asia Action Plan, which was helping Victorian producers to capitalise on export opportunities in Asia.

“Through this seed fund we will help to ensure Victorian horticulture producers are more competitive and productive, and able to meet this increase in export demand,” Mr Walsh said.

Nationals Candidate for Shepparton Greg Barr said the Innovation Seed Fund was a positive initiative that would bring exciting new research projects to Tatura’s Centre of Excellence.

“The new Horticulture Centre of Excellence, combined with this seed fund for innovative research projects, places the Goulburn Valley at the forefront of horticultural research and professional development,” Mr Barr said.