Australian melons growers have begun paying for a new research and development levy, introduced on 1 January 2017.
The levy requires growers selling more than 20 tonnes of melons each retailer year to pay 0.4c per kg to the levy, with funds also contributed by the Australian government.
Grower-owned body Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation) has called for qualified growers to join an advisory panel to determine how the funds are spent.
“Now the melon levy has been established, we are working with industry to form a panel of suitably qualified individuals to help carve out an investment programme and identify any short-term, industry-specific research and development priorities,” John Lloyd, Hort Innovation CEO, said in a statement released 16 January.
“We are looking for panellists with a strong mix of skills and experience, who are well positioned to help ensure the melon industry has access to the tools it needs to safeguard the health of this key horticultural sector for generations to come.”
One priority will be strengthening the melon industry’s position both locally and internationally, particularly since Cucumber Green Mottled Mosaic Virus was found on farms in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory in recent years.
Some 70 per cent of Australian melon growers voted in favour of the levy in 2015.