AUSVEG, the National Peak Industry Body representing Australia’s vegetable and potato growers, has today said it fully supports Horticulture Australia Limited’s (HAL) bid for a stronger horticulture sector.

HAL announced yesterday that it will conduct a review of the model under which it works in order to maximise returns on investment in research and development. The review, to be completed by May 2014, will also examine the efficiency of existing levy structures, including the process by which levies are conceived, implemented, collected and expensed.

“AUSVEG fully supports the review process that HAL has put in place. The horticulture industry is the fastest growing sector in Australian agriculture and it is important to ensure that growers are getting the most from the levies that HAL invests on their behalf with matched government funds,” said AUSVEG Acting CEO, Andrew White.

“Any review that looks at improvements which can be made in relation to how we do business as an industry is a positive initiative,” Mr White said.

AUSVEG is Australia’s leading horticulture body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.

“The Australian horticulture industry has tripled in value over the past 12 years, and is now valued at $9 billion, and HAL has been pivotal in assisting with this growth through R&D investment. This review represents a great opportunity to ensure that the horticulture industry maintains its strong position into the future,” said Mr White.

The vegetable industry is the largest sector of Australian horticulture, with a value of roughly $3.3 billion.

HAL invests around $100 million annually in projects across the horticulture industry.

“Investment from HAL has helped bring Australian growers to a point where they now produce some of the highest quality fruit and vegetables in the world. If there are ways that we can improve the model that underpins this R&D investment then it’s important that this is looked at,” said Mr White.

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