Small-scale commercial production of pomegranates in Australia began in the early 2000s. However, the industry was recently identified as a key emerging rural industry with high growth potential, currently having a gross value of production of $10.4 million. Against this backdrop, the Australian Pomegranate Industry Strategic Plan 2021-2026 (Strategic Plan) was released in November 2021 and was a crucial first step to better understand the potential of the industry, production opportunities, and research priorities to help it grow.
A key part of the Strategic Plan is the research, development and extension (RD&E) priorities over a five-year time horizon. To supplement the plan, industry identified the need for an economic analysis of the identified priorities to provide insights on the pecuniary benefit and payback of investment in the proposed activities. This is critical to ensuring industry targets those investments that will have the biggest impact in terms of industry growth and adoption of best practice production systems.
This document delivers on that need. The economic assessment found that while all activities showed a positive return on investment, the top three most impactful RD&E activities to promote industry growth and development are: (1) Developing a best practice guide for growing pomegranates in Australia; (2) Completing agronomic research to improve pomegranate production; and (3) Building the capacity of the pomegranate industry.
This analysis will be used by industry, AgriFutures Australia and investors to better understand the potential impact of RD&E investments and help prioritise research activities.