• Hort Innovation has launched its new Frontiers program, with a goal to invest an additional $500 million over the next decade into research and development to bolster Australia’s horticulture industry.
Source: Hort Innovation
    Hort Innovation has launched its new Frontiers program, with a goal to invest an additional $500 million over the next decade into research and development to bolster Australia’s horticulture industry. Source: Hort Innovation
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Horticulture industry research and development corporation, Hort Innovation, has launched its new Frontiers program, with an ambitious goal to invest an additional $500 million over the next decade into R&D to bolster Australia’s $16.3 billion horticulture industry.

Hort Innovation has had a busy week, announcing its new consumer data portal, Hort IQ, which provides fresh produce growers with the latest comprehensive Australian fruit, vegetable, and nut consumer data. A report on the Australian vegetable and onion industries, funded by Hort Innovation, is also launching this week at horticulture conference Hort Connections in Melbourne.

The new Frontiers program will complement the existing levy-funded portfolio and will attract new investors and innovation streams to Australian horticulture, to develop solutions for growers.

Hort Innovation CEO, Brett Fifield, said the new co-investment approach is designed to meet the needs of a rapidly evolving horticulture industry that is growing at the fastest rate of all Australian agriculture sectors.

“Through Frontiers, Hort Innovation is not only setting an ambitious target, but we are also being very clear about where investments will deliver the biggest impact – which is where growers need our Frontiers investments the most,” Mr Fifield said.

“We are looking at the big picture to find the big opportunities and have developed this new program with partners, innovators, industry representatives and some of Australia’s most forward-thinking farmers.”

Five investment themes, emerging from the Hort Innovation Strategy 2024-2026, will direct Frontiers’ investments. These are healthy living, adaptation and resilience, market growth and security, disruptive technologies, and capability building.

Fifield said that investment partners will be able to participate across four dynamic investment pathways which will be rolled out over the next twelve months – each designed to propel the industry forward fast and at scale.

The investment pathway that is currently active is the innovation partnerships stream, encouraging strategic collaborations, and inviting stakeholders from all corners of the sector to join forces to advance industry innovation.

Launching later this year, the Australian-grown innovation stream will be dedicated to growers and the supply chain, nurturing grassroots ingenuity to enable innovators to take their ideas from concept to reality through a competitive Expression of Interest process.

This year will also see the Hort Innovation venture fund. Channelling resources into high-growth early-stage startups, this stream will propel innovative products and services from inception to market readiness.

The fourth stream, incubate and accelerate, will be launched in 2025 and aimed at startup enterprises seeking to scale within the horticulture domain. Through rigorous selection and support mechanisms, budding entrepreneurs, researchers, and students will be equipped to thrive in the competitive landscape.

The Hort Innovation Frontiers website is available here for more information.

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