$43.5 million research boost to agriculture sector

Published: 18 Feb 2021

The NSW Nationals and Liberals Government will inject $43.5 million into critical projects to supercharge the state’s agricultural research into defences against disease, superbugs and biosecurity breaches, through the world-class Food and Fibre Program. 

Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said the funding will help the primary industries sector grow towards its target of being a $19 billion industry by 2023.

“Our agriculture industry is vital to the overall success of the NSW economy. This investment will ensure we continue to lead the way in research to boost primary industry productivity and protect our stock, crops and human health – building a safer and stronger Regional NSW,” Mr Barilaro said. 

“This $43.5 million investment in research and development will help ensure our world-class scientists have all the tools they need at their disposal to keep this important sector safe and prosperous, keeping valuable jobs in the community and the economy ticking over.” 

Mr Marshall said this investment will see the total funding for the Food and Fibre Program reach almost $100 million. 

“Our agriculture sector contributes almost $16 billion to the NSW economy and we’re aiming to grow that to more than $19 billion with more than 150,000 direct and indirect jobs over the next two years,” Mr Marshall said. 

“Investments like this are pivotal in ensuring we achieve these goals.

“Today we have strengthened our defenses against exotic diseases and also committed to delivering critical infrastructure to further strengthen our world-class food and fibre sector. 

Part of the investment will include $16 million to the state’s premier biosecurity facility, the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute (EMAI) in Wollondilly.

“A share of $11.7 million will support the development of advanced gene technology at EMAI, which is our most revolutionary tool we have right now to respond to the challenges of new and emerging diseases, and to supercharge agricultural production. 

“This will allow us to detect and differentiate exotic pests and pathogens faster and also improve the production, diversity and nutritional value of food crops.

“A share of a $5.4 million grant from the investment announced today will also allow the construction of controlled environment growth facilities, supporting researchers to simulate the effect of different seasonal conditions, such as day length, temperature and rainfall.

“Traditional breeding and development methods may take a decade or more to deliver a new variety – the combination of these investments in gene technology and infrastructure has the potential to dramatically reduce, even to halve, these times.” 

As world leaders in food and fibre innovation, the NSW Department of Primary Industries is ranked in the top one per cent of research organisations around the globe and works closely and collaboratively with industry and public and private organisations.

More information is available on the NSW Government’s World-Class Food and Fibre Program.

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