Queensland’s macadamia industry will be able to access new markets thanks to a Digital Transformation Grant as part of Queensland’s Economic Recovery Plan.
Member for Bundaberg Tom Smith said the Australian Macadamias Society would use its $58,620 grant on a project to improve microclimate monitoring and digital data for decision making in the macadamia industry.
“These grants were established under Queensland’s Economic Recovery plan to help growers like those in the Bundaberg region to access new opportunities,” Mr Smith said.
“The COVID-19 Pandemic created serious challenges for the agriculture sector, but the Palaszczuk Government has worked closely with industry to find solutions for emerging problems and stand shoulder to shoulder with our farmers.”
The grant to Australia Macadamias Society will support a $118,960 project that will include:
- Installation of weather stations and sensors, including connectivity to collect vital decision-making data;
- Creation of a new online dashboard platform for growers;
- An industry survey on the adoption rate of digital solutions; and
- Deliver educational activities to growers, farm workers, liaison officers and research staff.
“This program will have an immediate impact for the macadamia industry and will help it to reach a rapidly-growing customer base,” Mr Smith said.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said a total of $5.5 million is being invested over three years through the Digital Transformation in Agribusiness Initiative.
“This funding, as part of our COVID-19 economic recovery strategy, will support agribusinesses to become digitally aware and ready to respond to future disruptions,” Mr Furner said.
“Digital technology creates new ways of doing things that adds value to the agricultural sector by working more precisely, efficiently and sustainably.
“It offers innovative ways to connect producers to consumers, reduce problems related to remoteness in rural communities, and attract the next generation to jobs in the industry.”
Mr Furner said there was strong interest from industry in the first round of the Agribusiness Digital Solutions Grant Program.
“There were 22 applications received and the diversity of project proposals demonstrates the opportunities digital technologies create for the sector,” he said.
“Under a co-investment model, grants of up to $200,000 were offered for projects that enhance digital skills, drive business efficiencies and create regional jobs across Queensland.
“The approved grants of $1.045 million are for projects that use a range of technologies including the Internet of Things, cloud computing, intelligent apps, big data, automation, artificial intelligence and sensors.”