Funding for innovation

By Country News

Australian grain growers are set to reap the benefits of a $50million venture capital fund to draw the best and brightest tech start-ups from across the globe to focus on innovative solutions for grain growers’ most-difficult-to-solve problems.

The Grains Research and Development Corporation and venture-capital firm Artesian have partnered to establish the GrainInnovate fund to boost innovation in the grains industry.

GRDC chairman John Woods said the driving reason for GrainInnovate was to flush out innovation and technology from throughout Australia and around the world to deliver transformational impact on grain grower profitability.

‘‘Australian grain growers are some of the most innovative in the world. We have seen an increase in the gross value of grain production from an average of $6billion to approximately $15billion in the past 15 years — most of which has come from grain growers adopting new and novel technologies,’’ he said.

‘‘To stay competitive we need to seek new innovations, new technologies and bright ideas from Australia and around the world and get it into grower hands as quickly as possible so we maintain our competitive advantage.

‘‘Whether you’re a grower, breeder, research scientist, agronomist or ag tech developer — if you’ve got an innovation that can improve production or address a grains industry constraint, we want to hear from you so we can capitalise on those opportunities and maximise the productiveness of our systems.’’

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the fund would help turn grain-growing into a ‘‘high-tech science’’.

‘‘The fund will invest in leading edge developments in genetics, cultivation and storage systems. Some of this technology will detect changes in growing conditions and give farmers the information needed to keep their grain healthy,’’ he said.

‘‘GrainInnovate will also invest in renewables, crop protection technologies, and water and nutrient use efficiency.’’

The goal of the initiative is to drive the future profitability and sustainability of Australia’s grain growers, acknowledging the expanding need to attract the best and brightest minds to work on future-facing solutions implemented in real-time.

Artesian managing partner Jeremy Colless said the company — a full stack venture capital firm with offices across the Asia-Pacific region — was excited about investing in world-leading agri-tech start-ups delivering innovations most applicable to grain growers.

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