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Hort Innovation has announced an ambitious goal to invest an additional $500 million over the next decade in research and development to bolster Australia’s $16.3 billion horticulture industry.

The new Frontiers program will complement the existing levy-funded portfolio and will attract new investors and transformative innovation streams to Australian horticulture, with the aim to seize big opportunities and develop solutions for growers.

Hort Innovation chief executive officer Brett Fifield said the new co-investment approach is designed to meet the needs of a rapidly evolving horticulture industry that is growing at the fastest rate of all Australian agriculture sectors.

“Through Frontiers, we are being very clear about where investments will deliver the biggest impact. We are looking at the big picture to find the big opportunities, and have developed this new program with partners, innovators, industry representatives and some of Australia’s most forward-thinking farmers,” he said.

Five investment themes have emerged in line with the Hort Innovation Strategy 2024-2026 and these will drive the future Frontiers investment agenda: Healthy living, Adaptation and resilience, Market growth and security, Disruptive technologies and Capability building.

Investment partners will be able to participate across four investment pathways being rolled out over the next 12 months, each designed to propel the industry forward fast and at scale:

  • Innovation Partnerships. Delivered through procurement, this ongoing stream involves strategic collaborations, inviting stakeholders from across the sector to join forces to advance industry innovation.
  • Australian-grown Innovation. Dedicated to growers and the supply chain, this stream nurtures grassroots ingenuity, enabling innovators to take their ideas from concept to reality through a competitive Expression of Interest process.
  • Incubate and Accelerate. A launchpad for startup enterprises seeking to scale within the horticulture domain. Through rigorous selection and support mechanisms, budding entrepreneurs, researchers, and students will be equipped to thrive in the competitive landscape.
  • Hort Innovation Venture Fund. Channeling resources into high-growth early-stage startups, this stream will propel innovative products and services from inception to market readiness.

Visit the Hort Innovation Frontiers website here for more information.