Three key recommendations are outlined in the roadmap to reach the $10 million industry goal; get insect industry members to share ideas and knowledge for the benefit of all involved, develop practical industry guidelines to provide the building blocks for a strong industry, and then leverage these to invest in foundational research.
AgriFutures Australia’s Senior Manager, Emerging Industries, Tom McCue said the development of the RD&E plan will hold the industry in good stead for future investment and long-term growth.
“This is an important milestone for the Australian insect industry and we’re excited about the future possibilities as this roadmap clearly shows where investment can get the best results,” said Mr McCue.
“The benefits of being an industry-led exercise means there are no surprises, the changes required to achieve scale have been prioritised and members understand how they can grow all aspects of the industry; from breeding and harvesting, to processing and marketing.”
The RD&E plan Catalysing a $10m Australian insect industry explores industry challenges and opportunities for Australian insect farmers and offers practical recommendations to help the industry achieve its potential.
Report co-author, CEO and Founder of AgThentic, Sarah Nolet explained collaboration and sharing foundational industry knowledge between members will be key to developing a unanimous ‘voice’ for industry and securing future investment.
“There are currently only 14 active Australian insect farming businesses operating across Australia, of these, 10 produce insects for animal feed and four produce insects for human consumption,” said Ms Nolet.
“As a first step, insect producers, researchers, investors, regulators and interested stakeholders need to find ways to connect; through conferences, education programs and other events both locally and globally.
“While small in size, the industry has huge potential to scale if it can come together and focus on the common issues and shared interests. Australia is well-suited to insect farming and there is a growing market for alternative sustainable, protein-based feed sources – these are big opportunities ready to be realised.”
While quick wins have been identified in the RD&E plan, acceptance of insects as food is an ongoing challenge. Western diets are not accustomed to insects, and there is a concern about the size of the domestic market for insect-based food products. Research trials to determine consumer acceptance and social licence barriers for the insect industry to enter into other markets will be fundamental to future success.
Mr McCue said the Australian insect industry is at an exciting crossroad and there are clear avenues for industry growth.
“By continuing to build strong foundations for collaboration and investment in strategic RD&E priorities the industry will be well on its way to exceeding the industry $10 million growth target.”
Visit the AgriFutures Australia website to read the full RD&E plan: Catalysing a $10m Australian insect industry.