New and emerging plant industries play an important part in the Australian agricultural landscape. In addition to contributing to the national economy, they provide alternative enterprises to rural and regional communities.

The objectives of the New and Emerging Plant Industries program is to conduct research, development and extension for new, emerging and other core funded plant industries that contribute to the profitability, sustainability and productivity of regional Australia.

The Program’s objective directly aligns with Australian Government and RIRDC’s research priorities. ‘New’ refers to small plant industries that, thus far, have achieved limited growth. ‘Emerging’ plant industries have accelerating growth and can be small to medium in size. ‘Core funded’ refers to RIRDC’s investment in plant industries that do not have a levy mechanism in place to contribute matching funds for RD&E. Instead, these industries rely, in the main, on budget allocated to RIRDC by the Australian Government. Recent funding constraints require a more targeted approach to funding non-levied programs.

In 2014, an assessment of the Plant Industries program (which included a review of six industry RD&E Plans) highlighted a number of issues that the Program considered roadblocks to growth and development of new, developing, maturing and established plant industries. Of these impediments, those that can be addressed with targeted RD&E will shape the Program’s research priorities from 2015 to 2018.

The New and Emerging Plant Industries Three-Year RD&E Plan (2015–2018) outlines the criteria that will be used to allocate core RIRDC funds.

The Program includes the following industries, with research funding provided by RIRDC core funds and matching industry voluntary contributions: 

  • Essential Oils and Plant Extracts
  • Fodder Crops
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Truffles
  • Wildflowers

RIRDC will support efforts by the Tea Tree Oil and Fodder Crops industries to establish separate sustainable funding mechanisms during the current 2015–2018 plan.