Assistance grants will open up new opportunities for growers

Australia's horticulture research and development corporation, Hort Innovation, announced on Tuesday it had successfully secured more than $1 million in assistance grants under the Federal Government’s Access to Industry Uses of Agricultural and Veterinary (Agvet) Chemicals program.

Hort Innovation chief executive John Lloyd said the organisation submitted 27 grant applications in November, 16 of which were successful — signifying a great benefit for industry.

“The allocation of a large number of grants to the horticulture industry presents strong support for a $10 billion resources sector that is growing at a rapid rate,” he said.

“The gross value of Australian horticultural production is projected to increase to $13.6 billion in 2022-23, with increased fruit and nut production being key drivers.

“This Agvet grant funding will open up more opportunities for growers to better manage pests, weeds and disease, ensuring the sustainability and profitability of the industry and quality products for consumers.”

By law in Australia, any chemical product used for agriculture must be registered with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, and that is only possible through the provision of scientific evidence that chemical residues are at appropriate levels. These grants will help to provide that scientific evidence.

“The costs for generating and collating such information are high, and unfortunately many horticultural crops are too small individually for chemical manufacturers to bear the significant cost of registering products for use,” Mr Lloyd said.

“As a result, horticulturalists can be placed in situations where they risk severe crop losses from insects, weeds and diseases.”

Mr Lloyd said the grants were a result of Hort Innovation, growers and industry bodies working together to get positive outcomes for industry.

Up to $1.78 million was available to the 15 rural research and development corporations under this third round of Agvet funding.

The Australian Government committed $8 million over four years from 2014 to help farmers gain improved access to safe and effective agricultural and veterinary chemicals to assist them in producing food for Australia and the world.

Almost $5.89 million of that funding was allocated to research and development corporations from the access to industry priority uses of Agvet chemical grant program, and more than $3.3 million of this went to horticulture.


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