Gippsland agrifood producers get grant funding boost

From developing Australia’s first locally made fish sauce from introduced species, carp, to bringing Indigenous ‘bush foods’ to market, the initiative will help Gippsland agripreneurs’ translate bright ideas into commercially viable products and solutions by providing funding and expert support.

Seven Gippsland-based agribusinesses have received funding and expert support through the ‘What’s your food or fibre challenge, Gippsland?’ Initiative. The initiative, backed by Food & Fibre Gippsland and Federation University, was launched in March 2021. It invited members of the region’s food and fibre sectors to pitch how, by solving specific challenges, they could grow their businesses and their industry.

Agribusinesses from across the region responded, detailing a diverse array of challenges and prospective solutions. From these, seven standout applicants were selected. These seven will receive funding as well as ongoing mentorship and support with research and innovation. The successful businesses will have opportunities to collaborate with experts in business, science and academia, and with leaders in the food and fibre industry.

The campaign is being delivered by Food & Fibre Gippsland and Federation University, with partnership and support from Regional Development Victoria, Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL), Food Agility CRC, the Latrobe Valley Authority, TAFE Gippsland and the Committee for Gippsland.

The food and fibre sector contributes $7 billion of Gippsland’s total $16 billion per annum in gross regional product. According to KPMG report ‘Accelerating growth for the Gippsland food and fibre industry’ (2019), the sector’s contribution is expected to grow in coming years.

The successful seven

Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC): commercialising local bush foods

The GLaWAC project will continue the Gunaikurnai people’s 60,000-year legacy of land care and custodianship into the future by producing a feasibility study into commercial product opportunities for native bush foods in the region.

Bulmer Farms: recycling trickle tape in vegetable-growing operation

Bulmer Farms’ project involves researching possible reuse or recycling options for the single-use, non-biodegradable ‘trickle tape’ used to maximise water in Bulmer Farms’ intensive vegetable farming operation, making the business – and local agriculture – more sustainable.

Kiel Industries: biodegradable, flexible food-grade bin liners

This project will help Kiel Industries develop a biodegradable food-grade bin liner strong enough to transport seafood but flexible enough to sit within collapsible transport bins, cutting the economic and environmental costs of journeys to and from market.

Ingram Wild Caught Fisheries: turning invasive carp into first Aussie fish sauce

This project will help to develop a business and marketing plan for Ingram Wild Caught Fisheries’ fish sauce made from carp. The sauce has the potential to become the only Australian-made fish sauce, while solving the environmental problem caused by this major pest in Gippsland’s waterways.

Gurneys Cider: Cider pasteurisation

Gurneys Cider will engage in a research collaboration to determine the most efficient and environmentally friendly pasteurisation process for its business, with its learnings potentially extending to other SME cider breweries seeking to scale up and become more sustainable.South

Gippsland Dairy: commercial development of colostrum products

This regional dairy is seeking to develop a commercialmarket for colostrum, in tablet and powder form. It will undertake clinical trials and research to kickstart its entrance into the human nutrition space. The company hopes to grow the local market segment for colostrum products, benefiting other regional dairies.

Gippsland Jersey: developing the dairy factory of the future

Gippsland Jersey will use the opportunity to conduct a feasibility study into the creation of a centrally located, all-inclusive dairy manufacturing plant that enables the company to make supply-chain efficiencies and attract a ‘visitor economy’, helping to position Gippsland as a world-leading dairy hub.

Source: Food and fibre businesses receive helping hand I Stock & Land