Funding for hort plan

By Country News

The Victorian Government announced $5million for the Horticulture Development Plan at Tatura last week.

The funding was welcomed with a list of projects ready to start, including research aimed at reducing the cost of production for growers, increasing production value, increasing the volume of exports and reducing pest and diseases.

Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford announced the funding while visiting Agriculture Victoria’s pear orchards at Tatura.

‘‘It’s really exciting to be able to announce today $5 million in funding for the Horticulture Development Plan, which is all about research to drive the development of perennial horticulture in Victoria,’’ Ms Pulford said.

She described the actions of horticulture scientists as ‘‘quite a list of greatest hits’’.

‘‘The funding comes through our wonderful $200million agriculture infrastructure and jobs fund that is doing so much to transform our agricultural sector in all sorts of new and exciting ways.’’

Several projects were put forward for the funding, focusing on foundational research, tree and training systems, soil and irrigation, fruit functional relationships, insect management in almonds, IPM and biosecurity, smart surveillance and light interception.

‘‘It’s about strengthening the performance and reliance of our ag sector, it’s about boosting productivity, increasing exports and reducing costs to our Victorian farmers,’’ Ms Pulford said.

She said by focusing on foundational research, scientists would generate new knowledge and be able to fast track research outcomes.

‘‘This will create new opportunities for our growers in our sector and this new knowledge will enable the design and precision management of fruit development orchards.’’

Ms Pulford said one of the projects was about tackling the female fruit fly.

‘‘We continue to rage war on Queensland fruit fly in the Goulburn Valley ... we’ve got some pretty good strategies in place for the fellas but the female fruit fly of course is the troublesome pest that lays the eggs and creates new fruit fly problems.’’

She said this funding would help the industry jump into great success for future generations.

‘‘Funding is secure, funding is confirmed and our scientists will be able to get straight onto the new projects.’’

—Madeleine Caccianiga