The Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre, trading as FIAL, has announced that it is awarding four regional food and agribusiness clusters a combined $600,000 in funding under the organisation’s latest Cluster Program. They will provide $150,000 to each of the successful applicants that are focused on food and agribusiness challenges across the nation.
Each cluster is a regional network of interconnected businesses, researchers, and government agencies that create local ecosystems to address challenges in their area, strengthen supply chains, and create greater value through the sharing of resources, labour, infrastructure, knowledge, and relationships.
The four successful applicants of the Cluster Program are:
- Tasmanian Agrifood Network: Based in Launceston, a region comprised of farms, vineyards, artisan, and commercial producers. The cluster aims to support entrepreneurship and innovation and embrace the culture and creativity through a vibrant program of events centred on food and culture within the geography.
- Tropical North Queensland Regional Food Network: In collaboration with Regional Development Australia Tropical North, the cluster will focus on the region’s abundance of high-quality produce including its horticultural and seafood and aquaculture industries. It also plans to utilise agriculture and value-adding as a priority sector for renewed growth post-COVID-19 impacts.
- Greater Whitsunday Alliance – Agtech Cluster: Part of a region that includes mining and food production, manufacturing and supply chain systems for sugarcane, horticulture, aquaculture, livestock, pulse, and grains. The cluster aims to foster the adoption of agritech and attract “new blood” into the industry, including the development of specific training opportunities and support, to gain a better understanding of agtech solutions for the region and broader supply chains.
- Limestone Coast Food and Agribusiness Cluster: Based in South Australia’s Limestone Coast, characterised by a variety of natural features which contribute to diversity in agricultural production including red meat, coarse grains, grape and wine, seafood, horticulture, dairy, and eggs. The cluster will bring together both large and small food businesses in the region.
Dr Mirjana Prica, Managing Director of FIAL, said the grants were designed to support the agri-food sector’s continued movement toward transforming the agri-food sector over the next decade.
“Agri-food Clusters play a vital role in bringing together communities to tackle challenges in regions and/or cities. These grants will allow agri-food businesses to undertake further research and development activities and commercialise new products so they can scale up operations and export to new markets,” Dr Prica said. “By providing this critical funding, and supporting these businesses’ ability to capture growth opportunities, we can continue to build Australia’s global competitiveness whilst creating new local jobs.”
FIAL has been driving the growth of Australian agri-food clusters since 2018. FIAL’s Cluster Program is the first of its kind in Australia, having provided $3 million in funding, matched with an additional $3 million, which allowed for the establishment of the four initial agri-food clusters strategically located on the east coast of Australia, where 80 per cent of Australia’s food and beverage production is concentrated.
This funding also supports projects within the Federal government’s Food and Beverage National Manufacturing Priority road map and helps harness growth, foster innovation, and transform the sector.