27 May 2019

Global collaboration key to addressing local challenges in nursery industry

Australian production nurseries could reduce their environmental footprint by adopting existing research from its European counterparts, which face stricter regulations on natural resources and land use, according to a recent review on global R&D.

Boosting environmental credentials was one of the five research, development & extension (RD&E) priorities identified in the recent Global Review of R&D conducted by RM Consulting Group (RMCG) and funded by Hort Innovation.

RMCG Senior Consultant Dr Kristen Stirling said improving production efficiencies and logistics, adopting new technologies, as well as increasing our focus on consumers, were identified as key priorities for the industry moving forward.

“The first part of our research involved a desktop review to identify the main issues for the Australian nursery industry and its key drivers of growth, which we then assessed against global peers,” said Dr Stirling. 

“We backed this up by speaking with leading horticultural research providers in Australia and abroad, to examine their current programs and capacity to leverage investments and share resources.

“Some of these opportunities include leveraging work on reusing and recycling water, energy and climate management, as well as next generation sequencing for biosecurity screening, all of which are incredibly relevant to growers here.

“In particular, leading international institutions, such as Wageningen University in the Netherlands, had a great appetite to collaborate with our researchers and growers to make the global industry a stronger, more sustainable one.”

Dr Stirling was pleased to see the industry investing in proactive research projects, like the Global Review of R&D.

“Australian growers told us they wanted to get in at the start of research projects, not just adopt a final product,” said Dr Stirling.

“This project provides the roadmap to make this happen by collaborating with others to leverage investments, share skills and identify new ways to grow the sector.”