Hort Innovation partners with leading service providers to complete a range of R&D projects to ensure the long-term sustainability and profitability of the olive industry.

Project ideas can be submitted by any interested party at any time via the Hort Innovation website, and each suggestion is weighed up through an advisory process to ensure it reflects the agreed strategic objectives for the industry.

To assist in this advisory process, Hort Innovation has an olive Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP). The SIAP is currently comprised of nine levy-paying growers, processors and technical experts, chaired by an independent consultant to ensure the panel operates with good governance.

The role of the SIAP is to help ensure R&D investment decisions are balanced and prioritised by the current needs of the industry.

The olive SIAP Chair Richard de Vos believes the panel’s purpose is to not only provide advice on how levy money be best spent, but also to act as guardians for the olive industry’s Strategic Investment Plan 2017-2021 (SIP).

“The SIP was finalised in April 2017 and maps out what needs to be achieved over the next five-year period,” Mr de Vos said.

“It has been developed with considerable consultation from growers and the SIAP to assist in investing olive levy funds in the priority areas identified and agreed to by the industry.”

Guided by the SIP, the panel provides advice to Hort Innovation in relation to a number of new R&D concepts and ongoing projects as required. The SIAP can also provide recommendations to Hort Innovation if they feel a project warrants certain industry representatives to be involved, and provide names of suitable industry contacts.

Each member of the SIAP has been selected based on skills criteria, with consideration given to large and boutique growers to ensure every sector of the industry is fairly represented in the decision-making process.

The SIAP is just one part of the advisory process Hort Innovation employs as part of its procurement based investment process for R&D projects.

Another key part of the advisory process is the establishment of project reference groups for certain contracted R&D projects. The reference groups consist of industry experts to oversee and provide input to the project service provider throughout the project duration.

The make-up of the current SIAP and more information on Mr de Vos can be found on Hort Innovation’s Olive Fund page at http://www.horticulture.com.au/grower-focus/olive.

Olive growers and other industry stakeholders are always encouraged to submit ideas for potential investment via Hort Innovation’s Concept Proposal Form at http://edms.horticulture.com.au/Forms/ConceptFormV2