Australia's booming almond industry is set to benefit from the establishment of the National Almond Centre of Excellence in the Riverland.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Leon Bignell said the South Australian Government had reached an agreement with the Almond Board of Australia for the facility to be based at the Loxton Research Centre.
“The National Almond Centre of Excellence will ensure future innovation and technology advances for almond growers in South Australia and around the nation,” Mr Bignell said.
The Centre complements the investment made by both the South Australian and Victorian Labor governments in almond research and supports the growth of almond production across the river communities of South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.
The agreement includes a State Government commitment of $1 million per year for four years, with further contributions from industry and the Federal Government. It comprises:
- Expanding the South Australian Research and Development Institute’s (SARDI) scientific capacity supporting the industry’s research program
- PIRSA to establish a new research site to enable semi commercial scale assessment of new varieties from the Adelaide University’s plant breeding program
- A new experimental orchard for research into new production systems and enhanced land and water management, and
- Almond board staff to be based at the redeveloped Loxton Research Centre together with offices and laboratory facilities.
Minister for Regional Development Geoff Brock said the funding for research was part of his agreement with the Premier.
“As Regional Development Minister I’m delighted the Government and the Board have agreed to this initiative going ahead in the Riverland. It recognises the potential for significant industry growth in the region and more broadly, leading to more regional jobs.”
The $7.5 million redevelopment of the Loxton Research Centre is part of the Federally-funded South Australian River Murray Sustainability (SARMS) program, delivered by Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA).