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Issue 17, Autumn 2001

Native Food R&D Plan Reviewed

The Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation has been providing funding for native food R&D under a four year ( 1998-2002) industry plan. At a meeting in Canberra in March of this year, members of the industry reviewed this plan. This revised plan covers the next five years, although it is reviewable.

This was an important meeting as it brought together a very wide representation of the industry in one place for two days.

Attendees:

Keith Alcock, Australian Bushfoods & Products Coop Ltd

Margaret Bailey, grower, NNSW

Juleigh Robins, Robins Bushfoods

Anthony Hele, Australian Native Produce Industries Michael Brandwood, Southern Vales Bushfood

Terence Carpenter, South East Sustainable Bushfood Group Vic Cherikoff, Cherikoff Pty Ltd Gil Freeman, Southern Bush-food Association

lan Farquhar, Diemen Pepper Mark Henley, Australian Quandong Industry Association Sibylla Hess-Buschmann, Australlan Rainforest Products, Rod Horner, Buyer & supplier, NT, John King, Queensland Bush-food Association, David Noel, Tree Crops Centre, Chris Read, Diemen Pepper,  Sammy Ringer. Australian Bushfoods Magazine

Geoff Pryor was the workshop facilitator and the following RIRDC personnel attended for some or all of the time:

Beth Woods, Chair, RIRDC Board

Peter Core, Managing Director, RIRDC

Max Bourke, Research Manager, RIRDC

David Evans, Research Manager, RIRDC

June Murphy, Program Assistant, RIRDC

The review resulted in some changes   which should benefit the in industry's future commercial development. 

Among the plan's changes were:

A change in the industry's designation from 'Bushfoods' tp 'Native Foods'

           A clear emphasis on commercially focused R&D.

•           A focus on R&D in a selected range of 'best-bet' crops.

•           A funding emphasis on production technology, followed by plant improvement.

As well, a `weighting' was given to the objectives as follows: most important:

Objective 4 (To improve production efficiency while maintaining ecological integrity).

The following were given equal weighting:

Objective 1 (To understand, strengthen and develop markets)

2 (To improve existing products and develop new one) and

3 (Enhance the ability of the industry to provide products that meet appropriate safety and food standards)

and 

Objective 5 (To enhance the human resources of the industry) was the least favoured.

The net result of these chances is a shift in emphasis towards more mainstream and higher potential crops, production methods, producers and processors. These changes should ultimately be of benefit to ANPI, our commercial grower-suppliers and the wider industry.

During this meeting, a new Native Food Industry Advisory Group (which will help determine project funding and research priorities for the next two years) was chosen.

It comprises:

Anthony Hele,

Vic Cherikoff,

Sibylla Hess-Buschmann, 

Merryn Carey (South East Sustainable Bushfoods, Cobargo) 

and Chris Read

A synopsis of the revised R&D plan has been included with the magazine, with a request that readers comment upon it.