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Victoria Rolls Out Digital Grants for Farmers

The Victorian Government is working alongside farmers to ensure they are at the forefront of agriculture’s digital revolution with a new state-wide program. The Victorian Minister for Agriculture recently launched the $10 million Digital Agriculture Investment Scheme as part of the Enabling the Digital Agriculture Revolution Program.

Grants of up to $50,000 are available to assist eligible farm businesses to invest in on-farm digital technology projects to improve productivity, resilience and long-term viability of their farms. Eligible projects could include technology such as weather stations, animal monitoring systems, robotics, drones or unmanned autonomous vehicles, sensors, on-farm networks and farm management software.

The project will be delivered by Rural Finance on behalf of Agriculture Victoria. Applications for the scheme will close on 31 October 2021 or when funds are fully allocated. The Scheme will build on foundations laid by the $12 million On-Farm Internet of Things (IoT) trial which established new IoT networks in regional Victoria and has awarded 350 grants to support farm businesses to invest in technology on Victorian horticulture, sheep, dairy and broadacre cropping properties.

On-Farm IoT Trial participant Kilbirnie Farms is a 4,000-hectare mixed cropping and sheep property in Western Victoria. With little technology currently on the farm, the team at Kilbirnie is planning to use their grant to set up a weather station and soil moisture probes to help with critical decisions regarding spraying, harvesting and baling. Gippsland dairy farmers and On-Farm IoT Trial participants Wilco Droppert and Sandra Jefford are using animal monitoring devices to reduce time and money spent checking cattle.

The Victorian Government is backing a stronger, more innovative and sustainable agriculture industry with a new 10-year strategy to drive Victoria’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and bolster the economy.

Applications for the Digital Agriculture Investment Scheme can be submitted through the Rural Finance website.

The Minister for Agriculture stated that the government is supporting the agricultural industry to modernise through investment, innovation and fostering future skills, which is a key part of our agriculture strategy. She noted that The Digital Agriculture Investment Scheme will assist Victorian farmers to overcome the financial barriers associated with investing in digital technologies and increase adoption rates across the sector.

Through the On-Farm Internet of Things Trial, we have partnered with hundreds of farmers across four key industries to invest in IoT technology and we are now branching out to support more farmers across the state.

According to a recent report, in 2019, APAC stood second in the Agritech market with a share of 29.68%, and it is anticipated to witness a steady CAGR from 2020 to 2027. The agri-food industry in Asia, which is valued at roughly US$5 trillion, is undergoing a technological revolution, which is projected to broaden the scope of agritech business.

Increasing population in countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam, and rising demand for higher yields are the prime enablers of the agriculture sector in this region.

The aforementioned countries are experiencing significant investments in agritech. For instance, after the US, India has recorded the second-highest number of deals in agritech. The country witnessed an increase in total deal value from US$ 133 million in 2018 to US$ 249 million in 2019, which is 87% year-on-year total funding growth.

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