HORTICULTURE Innovation Australia is the funding body behind perhaps the most segmented sector in Australian agriculture.
The very word “horticulture” covers everything from tomatoes to turf, all of which feed into the overarching Research and Development Corporation now more commonly known as Hort Innovation.
Membership is free and the organisation has gone to lengths to emphasise the fact it is grower owned.
Hort Innovation came into being in November 2014 following a review of its predecessor, Horticulture Australia Limited, which revealed transparency issues and conflicts of interest in the levy model.
In 2015, Hort Innovation transitioned to a grower-owned body with levy payers as registered voting members.
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According to Hort Innovation, it aims to: “to provide value to members; to ensure communications are relevant; and to make multiple opportunities available for growers to engage with the company”.
Growers pay a levy on their produce which, if it is a statutory levy, is collected by the Australian Government.
The government has a Statutory Funding Agreement that it has entered into with Hort Innovation, which allows it to pass the collected levy onto Hort Innovation.
It is then Hort Innovation’s responsibility to work with industry to make strategic investments in R&D and marketing programs.
All investments involve advice by the individual industry Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP).
Like all RDCs, Hort Innovation’s R&D investments attract a co-contribution from the Australian Government, however marketing levies do not.