Sugar Research Australia Ltd (SRA) has announced that it will invest over $16 million in its research, development and extension (RD&E) program in the 2014-15 financial year.
The investment is funded primarily by the new statutory Sugarcane Levy of 70 cents per tonne of cane for which SRA grower and milling Members each contribute 35 cents per tonne of cane.
The SRA Member and levy payers’ stakeholder investment is also directly supported by the Commonwealth Government matching funds of approximately $6 million and the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry investment of $4 million per annum.
Mr Paul Wright AM, Chairman said this investment—which is in addition to the company’s ongoing investment in plant breeding and biosecurity research that underpins the sustainability of the Australian sugar industry—includes the recently announced $1.5 million investment from company reserves to help solve the Yellow Canopy Syndrome puzzle, and over $4 million for 22 new research projects selected from the company’s first contestable funding call.
The 22 new projects were chosen after a rigorous review process which involved SRA’s independent Research Funding Panel (RFP) and peer experts judging each project’s feasibility, likelihood of success and industry impact of the research outcomes.
“On behalf of the SRA Board I would like to thank the members of the Research Funding Panel for their guidance. The success of the company’s first contestable funding call reflects a new era where SRA-funded research projects must not only deliver excellent science but must be consistent with what our members want,” Mr Wright said.
“As an industry-owned company SRA must respond to the challenges and opportunities that face SRA Members and levy payers with rigorous and innovative RD&E solutions.
“These challenges and opportunities are reflected in the eight key focus areas outlined in the recently released 2013/14-2017/18 SRA Strategic Plan. Moving forward the projects contained in SRA’s RD&E program will address one or more of these key focus areas and have a significant likelihood of delivering practical outcomes that can be easily taken up on the farm and at the mill.
“Every invested dollar will be used wisely to produce knowledge and practices that will improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability for SRA Members and levy payers,” concluded Mr Wright.