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Fund management

At Hort Innovation it’s our job to work with industry to invest the almond levy and Australian Government contributions into initiatives to help growers be as productive and profitable as possible, through the Hort Innovation Almond Fund

What is the almond levy?

Levy is payable on almonds that are produced in Australia and either sold by the producer or used by the producer in the production of other goods. The R&D levy is set at a rate of 1 cent per kilogram for almonds in shell, 2 cents per kilogram for shelled almonds and 1.5 cents per kilogram for almonds in shell (Nonpareil).

This levy is collected by the Australian Government and then entrusted to Hort Innovation. It is then Hort Innovation’s responsibility to work with industry to invest the levies – together with Australian Government funds in the case of R&D – into strategic R&D initiatives.

You can find full details on the levy rates, plus information on how to lodge a return and make a payment with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, on the government website here.

In June 2018, the almond industry also established a collective industry fund (CIF) and a related voluntary levy, for additional investment into major strategic programs. This voluntary levy is separate from the statutory levy and is not set or collected by the government – however, like the statutory levy it is invested through the Hort Innovation Almond Fund, together with Australian Government contributions.

How are levy investment decisions made?

Investments specific to the Hort Innovation Almond Fund are guided by the industry’s Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) and Annual Investment Plan (AIP). SIPs provide an overarching roadmap for industry to follow, and AIPs detail how levy dollars will be spent each year to achieve industry goals.

To learn more about how Hort Innovation makes investment decisions, watch the video below or scroll down for more information.

What is the almond Strategic Investment Plan?

The almond SIP 2022-2026 is the roadmap that helps guide Hort Innovation’s oversight and management of the almond investment program. The SIP lays the foundation for decision-making in levy investments and represents the balanced interests of the almond industry. The most important function of the SIP is to make sure that levy investment decisions align with industry priorities.

In 2021, the almond SIP was refreshed to reflect the current needs of the almond industry. The refresh involved close consultation with growers, industry participants and the wider research community.

The almond SIP details the industry’s strategic goals centred around four outcome areas: industry supply, productivity and sustainability; demand creation; extension and capability; and business insights. Under each of those outcomes, there are industry-specific strategies and key performance indicators that provide guidance on how the almond industry will work towards achieving the outcomes.

What is the almond Annual Investment Plan?

While the almond SIP provides an oversight of investment over the next five years, the almond AIP explains how levy funds are going to be invested over a twelve-month period.

AIPs are developed each year by Hort Innovation, informed by the SIP and industry consultation, and then discussed with the industry SIAP for feedback and prioritisation. Investment decisions will be guided by the industry SIP and prioritised based on potential industry impact, as well as availability of levy funds. 

The AIP provides detailed information on:

  • Funding availability
  • How the almond industry is investing against their SIP outcomes
  • Details on current investments across R&D.

The AIP will be published on this page each year and industry stakeholders will be notified via Hort Innovation’s established communication channels.

Where do investment ideas come from?

There are many avenues that investment ideas come through – such as growers, delivery partners, previous projects, research networks, industry bodies, regional extension plans, and extension personnel. Before any ideas are progressed, Hort Innovation will investigate whether investment aligns with the SIP and whether investment is needed in this area.

Growers are invited to submit their ideas any time at Hort Innovation’s investment idea form or by contacting a Hort Innovation employee directly. Industry participants and delivery partners can contact a Hort Innovation employee directly if they have an idea outside of the SIP consultation process. 

Any submission or suggestion will be reviewed by Hort Innovation to ensure it aligns with industry needs as identified in the SIP. 

How are investments prioritised?

To gain industry insights for strategic levy investments, Hort Innovation consults with growers through the almond Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP).

Hort Innovation develops draft investment recommendations based on investment ideas that are aligned to the almond SIP. Each recommendation includes high-level information on the aims of the project, outcomes, deliverables and budget.

The recommendations are then taken to the relevant advisory panel for feedback and prioritisation based on potential impact and available funding. Details of projects that will be progressing are then featured in the AIP.

The almond SIAP consists of industry supply-chain stakeholders, most of whom are levy-paying growers. Panels also include industry representative body representation and, where applicable, a lead agency representative from within the National Horticulture Research Network.

The SIAP is in place to discuss investment ideas, in order to provide advice to Hort Innovation on potential levy investments. The advice they give is guided by the industry's SIP.

The SIAP provides a vital link between meeting the priorities of industry and helping Hort Innovation to make decisions on how, where and when investments need to be made.

How are investments progressed?

After the investment has been prioritised, it’s then up to Hort Innovation to get the project up and running. This involves a tender process where the best delivery partner is chosen to undertake the project. Each delivery partner needs to submit regular milestones that report on their progress and at the end of each investment, a final report is produced that is made available to industry on what the project has achieved.

How to keep track of investments

Investments in the Hort Innovation Almond Fund are detailed in the Your investments page of this Almond Fund section of Hort Innovation’s website. Resources that are produced by the projects – such as fact sheets and guides – are also available through the Research reports and more page.

Hort Innovation also sends alerts about project updates to its members. Paying a levy doesn’t automatically make you a Hort Innovation member, but signing up is free here.

The levy-funded communications program, run through the investment Almond industry communications program (AL18001), also provides regular information on levy-funded activity.

Financial documents

Financial Operating Statement
Levy Summary – July to June 2020/21
Financial operating statement
CIF Summary – July to June 2020/21

SIAP details

Panel meetings and summaries

Meeting

Date

Location

Summary

1

June 14, 2016

Mildura, VIC

View

2

February 2, 2017

Glenelg, SA

View

3

March 22, 2017

Loxton, SA

View

4

August 9, 2017

Loxton, SA

View

5

January 12, 2018

Teleconference

View

6

March 14, 2018

Mildura, VIC

View

7

March 13, 2019

Mildura, VIC

View

8

August 21, 2019

Mildura, VIC

View

The panel

Name

Organisation

Location

Brendan Sidhu

Century Orchards

SA

Paul Martin

Century Orchards

SA

Domenic Cavallaro

Cavallaro Angle Vale Almond Trust

SA

Craig Simes

EE Muir & Sons

SA

Toby Smith

Olam

NSW/VIC

Ben Brown

Select Harvest

NSW/SA/VIC

Ross Skinner

Almond Board of Australia

SA/VIC/NSW/WA

Troy Richman

Almas Almonds

VIC

Thomas Dobbin

Almondco Australia Limited

SA

Claude Gauchat

Chair

View biography

Fund Annual Report 2020/21
Publication
Fund Annual Report 2020/21
Strategic Investment Plan
Publication
Strategic Investment Plan
SIP – At a glance
Publication
SIP – At a glance