Grains industry to reap long-term research benefits
Joint Media Release
The Hon. Peter Walsh MP
Victorian Minister for Agriculture and Food Security
The Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP
Minister for Agriculture
28 July 2014
Victorian grain growers are set to benefit from a new five year agreement that will increase innovative research and development (R&D) in their industry.
Australian Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, and Victorian Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, Peter Walsh, announced the bilateral agreement today between the Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC) and the Victorian Government’s Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI).
“GRDC and DEPI will work together over the next five years on grains research and development, and focus on building a skilled workforce and providing grain growers with on-the-ground research that will help them in the future,” Minister Joyce said.
“Research is a priority for me – we know there is a strong link between R&D and agricultural productivity growth, and recognise research is a key driver to industry and farmgate profitability. This agreement heralds cooperation that will ensure maximum returns from the $60 million in investments made by the two organisations.
“The grains industry is one of Australia’s most important agricultural sectors, with our wheat exports in 2012–13 worth around $6.7 billion, canola exports in 2012–13 worth around $2.0 billion and barley exports in the same year worth around $1.6 billion.
“This agreement will build on the grains industries’ long-term capacity for research and enhance future infrastructure. It’s not just Victoria that will benefit from this partnership – the whole Australian grains industry will also reap the benefits.”
Minister Walsh said the Victorian Coalition Government was committed to working with industry and co-funding strategic research that will accelerate productivity growth in the grains sector and boost the profitability of growers.
“At $2.2 billion, the grains industry was Victoria’s most valuable agricultural export earner for 2012–13 but there is capacity to grow value and volume if we are smart about strategic investment in productivity-focused R&D,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Victorian Coalition Government has set a target of doubling agricultural production across Victoria by 2030 which we believe is achievable if we work in partnership with industry on targeted R&D.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is also helping the grains sector make the most of expanding export opportunities in markets like Asia and the Middle East through our $100 million Food to Asia Action Plan and our $50 million International Engagement Strategy.
“Our partnership with GRDC is a significant commitment to a range of research programmes that align to Victoria’s leadership role in the Grain Industry National Research, Development and Extension Strategy.”
These programmes include research into improving pulse quality, pre-breeding and agronomy, crop pathology and biosecurity, improved cropping systems for high rainfall zone and climate adaptation, and the Australian Grains Genebank at Horsham.
Each year, the GRDC, which is an Australian Government statutory corporation, coordinates and invests a grower levy and Australian Government funding in research and development for the benefit of all stakeholders in the grains industry and the community at large.