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 2022/23

Target Industries 

In 2022/23, the AgriFutures Emerging Industries Program will be implementing prioritised Research Development and Extension (RD&E) investment in target industries over a 5-year period. In the first year, sesame, seaweed, and insects will be the industries targeted for new research investment. These industries have been identified following a review of all current Emerging Industries. Further industries will be added each year, with industrial hemp to be added to this list during the 2023/24 financial year. 

Within this investment, programs of research will be developed utilising an industry development framework and will include an exit strategy, with research topics to be determined through the priorities identified in the RD&E Plans as well as consultation with industry. Targeted investment calls, and other advertised engagement processes will occur to build the programs of research for each of the identified industries. 

Targeted Issues  

The Targeted Issues investment is intended to identify rural issues that are applicable to more than one new and emerging industry, and are either preventing, limiting, or providing an opportunity to increase industry growth. 

Targeted investment calls will be advertised to address these cross-industry issues. The outcomes of these projects will impact more than one of our new and emerging industries. 

Small-medium Business Innovation Grant 

Building on the successful pilot of the Grant Stream in 2021, this investment program will continue in 2022/23. 

The Small-medium Business Innovation Grants are targeted at small to medium businesses within emerging industries that have an idea to alleviate a key industry issue/problem that could be solved 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. 

Capacity building 

All stakeholders across the Emerging Industries Program will have the opportunity to participate in capacity building opportunities, where relevant and appropriate. A skills audit of our emerging industries was conducted in 2021-22, which resulted in the development of a tailored capacity program. This program will be launch in the first half of the 2022-23 financial year. 

Development Stream 

In the Development Stream, there will be an opportunity for those industries who have not yet developed an RD&E Plan, business case or feasibility study to pursue this activity for their industry. Industries will then be able to use the RD&E Plan, business case or feasibility study to promote their industry and seek investor interest. 

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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