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FIAL injects $600K into agri-food regions, announces successful cluster program applicants

FIAL grants

The Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre, trading as FIAL, is supporting growth in the food and agribusiness sector with the announcement of four new regional clusters awarded a combined $600,000 in funding under the organisation’s latest Cluster Program.

This unique program is providing funding of $150,000 to each of the successful Cluster Applicants focusing 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 local challenges of concern.

Through the sharing of resources, labour, infrastructure, knowledge, and relationships, the outcomes of accelerated innovation, strengthen supply chains, and greater value creation to be achieved.  The program was incredibly well-received with 17 high-quality submissions received from Cluster consortia across Australia. FIAL is delighted to announce that the successful applicants of the Cluster Program are:

  • Tasmanian Agrifood Network, based in the regional city of Launceston, is a region of eight local governments brimming with farms, vineyards, artisan, and commercial producers. Annual agriculture production of $700m is set to be turbo-charged by new irrigation schemes. 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, will focus on the region’s abundance of high-quality produce including a diverse horticultural industry, and world-recognised seafood and aquaculture. The region has historically been an innovative and entrepreneurial region attracting and developing diversification within industries including food technology, tropical food trail tourism, and farm stays opportunities for domestic and international tourism. The region is looking 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 diverse 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. They aim to develop a regional agtech strategy and develop 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 is unique due to the 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.

FIAL’s Capturing the Prize outlined that increased collaboration between businesses across the value chain is one of the factors that will help catalyse the sector’s ability to unlock the $200 billion potential for the agri-food sector.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,” said Dr. Prica.“I congratulate the four successful applicants for their value-added potential. 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.”This funding supports projects within the Government’s Food and Beverage National Manufacturing Priority road map and helps harness growth, foster innovation, and transform the sector.  FIAL has driven the growth of Australian agri-food Clusters since 2018. FIAL’s Cluster Program was the first of its kind in Australia.

This funding builds on the success of FIAL’s Cluster Program that provided $3 million in funding, matched with an additional $3 million, allowing for the establishment of the four initial agri-food Clusters. These Clusters are strategically located on the east coast of Australia, where 80 per cent of Australia’s food and beverage production occurs. FIAL is also releasing the sixth edition of Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations which provides case studies on the many businesses and household brands the organisation has been instrumental in helping to grow.

This latest edition highlights the incredible work Australia’s food Clusters are doing to support the industry to innovate, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of the food industry to the country.Awareness of the power of Clusters to build scale and unlock business potential is increasing. To help drive this the potential TCI Oceania, in collaboration with three Industry Growth Centres – FIAL, NERA, and METS Ignited – has appointed Tom Lewis and RDS Partners as Secretariat for TCI Oceania.For more information on FIAL’s Cluster Grant Program go to: www.fial.com.au/building-capability/clusters

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