A Queensland government grant is backing enhanced microclimate monitoring and data-driven decision making for the local macadamia industry.
The Australian Macadamia Society has received a digital transformation grant to the value of $58,620 that will go towards a larger $118,960 project that will include an industry-wide survey about the adoption rate of digital solutions, and educational resources for growers, farm workers, and liaison personnel.
The project will also involve the installation of weather stations and sensors to collect microclimate data and a new online dashboard for growers.
“This program will have an immediate impact for the macadamia industry and will help it to reach a rapidly-growing customer base,” Bundaberg MP Tom Smith said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic created serious challenges for the agriculture sector, but the government has worked closely with industry to find solutions for emerging problems and stand shoulder to shoulder with our farmers.”
The Digital Transformation in Agribusiness program uses a co-investment model and offers grants of up to $200,000 for projects that ‘enhance digital skills, drive business efficiencies and create regional jobs across Queensland’.
The first round of government grants received 22 proposals from applicants looking to create more digital technology opportunities for their sector. Grants for this round have been approved for projects with the combined value of $1.045 million, and include leveraging technologies such as cloud computing, intelligent apps, big data, automation, artificial intelligence and sensors.
Mark Furner, minister for agricultural industry development and fisheries, and for rural communities, said the government initiative will invest $5.5 million over three years to support industries like macadamia growers.
“Digital technology creates new ways of doing things that adds value to the agricultural sector by working more precisely, efficiently and sustainably,” Furner said.
“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.”