Dr Jovicich, Program Leader Protected Cropping, said the Australian Protected Cropping Strategy provides horticulture growers, businesses and industry stakeholders with a clear direction and priorities for investment in research, development and extension (RD&E) to benefit vegetable, berry, nursery and tree-fruit value chains.
“The strategy is based on extensive consultation with industry stakeholders, as well as an analysis of global trends in the use of protected cropping within horticulture,” Dr Jovicich said
“Almost 50 organisations and more than 100 individuals were engaged as part of its development, including State and Territory agricultural departments, industry associations, universities and educational centres, growers, marketing groups, consultants, and suppliers.
“The consultation highlighted several challenges to the future growth of the sector, as well as opportunities to harness protected cropping and industry growth.
“The information was used to identify protected cropping RD&E outcomes and strategies, which were road-tested and refined with industry stakeholders and Hort Innovation.
“Three pillars aligning with Value Chains, People, and Technologies were identified and have specific investment priorities.
“For an expansion of protected cropping in Australia we need to develop and access export markets while growing new domestic markets, increase workforce capacity and capability, and adapt and develop fit-for-purpose cost effective protected cropping technologies and agronomy practices.
“The industry will also need to assure that the environmental footprint well managed.
“A systems approach to RD&E will be required to solve the challenges, and collaboration across industry players will be fundamental.”
Protected Cropping Australia Chief Executive Officer Greg Fraser said the Strategy will prove a useful tool for industry.
“Australia’s horticulture industry has a great capacity and capability to harness the potential of protected cropping systems across a diversity of crops, regions, climates, business models and markets,” he said.
“This Strategy outlines opportunities for research, development and extension in the context of global megatrends, local challenges and opportunities and other factors.”
The Australian Protected Cropping Strategy 2021-2030 was funded through Hort Innovation’s Hort Frontiers Advanced Production Systems Fund, the Australian Government and the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries with input from Food Innovation Australia.
See the Australian Protected Cropping Strategy 2021-2030 here.
This article was initially published on the Hort Innovation website on 26 November 2021. It has been republished here courtesy of Hort Innovation media. View the original article.