With global environmental and market trends impacting food consumption, we have an opportunity to identify emerging food and fibre types and connect with new and expanding markets.

AgriFutures Australia is dedicated to identifying and supporting the development of new and emerging rural industries that can meet changing demand and make a valuable economic, social and environmental contribution to Australia.

What is an emerging industry?

Emerging industries are those new industries with high growth potential. Emerging animal and plant industries play an important part in the Australian agricultural landscape, they contribute to the national economy and they will be key to meeting changing global food demands.

AgriFutures Australia supports a number of emerging rural industries including native plants such as kakadu plum, seaweeds and native pepper, as well as newer additions to Australian agricultural flora such as quinoa, hazelnuts and coffee. Emerging animal industries including sea urchin, camel milk, game birds, working dogs, alpaca and crocodile have also received funding to support RD&E.

Investment Plan 2021/22

The AgriFutures Emerging Industries Program is always exploring ways to improve and ensure we are delivering the greatest impact to our industries.

As a result, the Emerging Industries Panel have endorsed a new investment plan for the Program.

The investment plan differs to previous years, as outlined below, but still provides several ways for emerging industries and their stakeholders to be involved in the Program. Our focus remains on supporting emerging industries across Australia, no matter what stage of development.

Within the new structure, funding will be divided between four different streams, each tailored to benefit emerging industries.

Grant Stream

The Grant Stream is targeted at small-medium size businesses who have an idea on how to solve a key industry issue impacting an emerging industry and could deliver it through a ‘non-traditional’ research project. For example, these could include ideas that trial a new technology to address an industry issue or work to reduce an export trade barrier.

Target Industry Stream

In 2021/22, the AgriFutures Emerging Industries Program will be targeting the pomegranate, jackfruit, and insect industries for new research investment. These industries have been identified following a review of all current Emerging Industries. Further industries may be added to this list during the 2021/22 financial year.

Within this stream, there will be targeted investment calls, with research topics to be determined through industry engagement and reference to Research, Development and Extension Plans.

Development Stream

In the Development Stream, industries will work with a consultant to develop a compact business case for their industry. Industries will then be able to use this business case to promote their industry and seek investor interest.

Capacity Building

In addition, all stakeholders across emerging industries will have the opportunity to participate in capacity building programs, where relevant and appropriate.

The AgriFutures Emerging Industries team will be conducting a skills audit across emerging industries to identify any gaps. This audit will then be used to inform a tailored capacity building program that will roll out in the first half of 2022.

Open Calls

As a result of the above four opportunities, there will be no open or public call for research offered in the AgriFutures Emerging Industries Program for investment in the 2021/22 financial year. The tailored streams and associated activities will offer a high level of engagement that continues to assist up-and-coming rural industries address their barriers to growth.

Emerging Insect Technology Hub

The Emerging Insect Technology Hub was launched on Thursday 17 March 2022 with over 90 registrants in attendance for this inaugural event. Here is a recording of the launch. Unfortunately, due to technical issues the first speaker, Mr Michael Beer, General Manager, Business Development, AgriFutures Australia, was not recorded, but key points of his presentation are detailed below.

Mr Michael Beer

I’d like to firstly acknowledge the representatives from ACIAR, ICIPE & AgriFutures Australia who have and who are developing this initiative to come together and share knowledge, experience and play our part in supporting the development of new and existing insect technology.

Why bring collaborators together now?

  • Strong foundations are integral for progress – start early and build, foster
  • Bring together expertise in the field of Insects to enable us to work together, address key issues and challenges that face the industry regardless of where we are located
  • Build a viable industry that meets the demand for alternate protein and sustainable sources of food, feed & fertiliser
  • In Australia, the skill for insect production is still developing, and globally there are a high proportion of insect farmers who are small businesses
  • The Hub provides a safe space to support them to reach commercial scale.

Why now for Insects in Australia?

  • Insects have the potential to transform Australian agriculture and be a key contributor in Australia’s farming economy
  • AgriFutures Australia has identified insect farming as an emerging industry with high potential for growth and currently invest in this space
  • We published a report in 2020 ‘Catalysing a $10m Australian Insect Industry
  • Industry stakeholders then told us clearly:
    • Increased collaboration around research projects, industry and knowledge sharing
  • We listened! And took this further, by engaging with ACIAR &  AgriFutures to develop the concept of an Insect Hub.

Industrial hemp

Earmarked as a high potential emerging industry, AgriFutures Australia is working closely with the industrial hemp industry to reach its target of $10 million annual gross value of production by 2025. Key to this goal is the establishment of a national industrial hemp variety trial (IHVT) project which seeks to better understand the hemp varieties best suited for Australian conditions. Learn more about the Industrial Hemp Variety Trials here.

Farm Diversity

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Related Publications


Australian Industrial Hemp Industry: Pesticide Review and Evaluation Program


Vanilla production in Australia: Feasibility report


Establishing a pine nut industry in Australia: Feasibility report


Australian Pine Nut Strategic RD&E Plan (2022-2032)

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