Major funding success for a project which will have and enormous impact on South Australia’s agricultural productivity and biodiversity conservation.
The South Australian team will attract approximately 50% of the funding and is led by bee pollination expert Dr Katja Hogendoorn and Professor Andy Lowe.
The announcement states:
More than $5.2 million will be invested in R&D work headed by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC), looking at ways to boost the number of pollinating insects across the nation.
Mr Joyce said effective pollination by various insects, including bees, was essential to the productivity of orchards and other crops across Australia.
“Without pollinating insects, we simply wouldn’t have the variety of crops to export or food to put on our tables,” he said.
“In dollar terms, research commissioned by RIRDC found that native pollinators alone are estimated to contribute $2.5 billion in crop pollination, and that an increase in pollination activities will lead to higher farmgate returns – benefiting farmers, their communities and businesses throughout the nation.”
Mr Broad said the grant will be matched by more than $7.7 million in cash and in-kind contributions by RIRDC and its partner organisations.
“This project will help find new ways to improve the diversity and abundance of Australia’s pollinating insects – a critical element for successful cropping,” he said.
“Testing new technologies which allow pollinators to be tracked and identified will help highlight the plants and resources they use, and how they use them.
“The end result of this research could be the establishment of more native vegetation and critical food resources for these insects, which means cost effective pollination services – and greater returns – for farmers and farming communities across Australia.”
Hort Innovation will partner with the Almond Board of Australia, the Victorian Department of Economic Development, the South Australian Research and Development Institute and the NSW Department of Primary Industries on its project.
RIRDC will partner with Hort Innovation, the Universities of Sydney, Adelaide and New England, the CSIRO, the South Australian Government as well as various natural resource management and industry groups on its project.
The funding is for both projects comes from Round Two of the government’s Rural R&D for Profit Programme, which is delivering $52 million for a range of projects focusing on soil, water and natural resource management, advanced technology, biosecurity and on-farm adoption of R&D.