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Growers Potato – Fresh Fund Fund management

Fund management

At Hort Innovation it’s our job to work with industry to invest the fresh potato levy and Australian Government contributions into initiatives to help industrys be as productive and profitable as possible, through the Hort Innovation Potato – Fresh Fund

What is the fresh potato levy?

Levy is payable on potatoes 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 rate on unprocessed potatoes is set at 48 cents per tonne.

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 rate, 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.

How are levy investment decisions made?

Investments specific to the Hort Innovation Potato - fresh 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 potato Strategic Investment Plan?

The potato SIP 2022-2026 provides a roadmap to guide Hort Innovation’s investment of both fresh potato and processing potato industry levies and Australian Government contributions, ensuring investment decisions are aligned with industry priorities.

The SIP lays the foundation for decision-making in levy investments and represents the balanced interests of the potato industry. The most important function of the SIP is to make sure that levy investment decisions align with industry priorities.

Previously, the Potato – Fresh Fund had a separate SIP, called the potato grower SIP, and in 2021, it was refreshed and combiined with the processing potato SIP to reflect the current needs of industry. The refresh involved close consultation with growers, industry participants and the wider research community.

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

For the previous potato grower SIP, a performance report has been developed to demonstrate how investments delivered in the Potato – Fresh Fund from 2016/17 to 2020/21 generated impact for potato growers. The report provides an overview of key achievements delivered through each levy investment, and how they relate to the industry’s SIP outcomes and strategies.

While this performance report provides a five-year review of the potato grower SIP 2017-2021, going forward an annual performance report will be provided for the potato SIP 2022-2026.

View the potato grower SIP 2017-2021 performance report here.

What is the fresh potato Annual Investment Plan?

While the potato SIP provides an oversight of investment over the next five years, the fresh potato Annual Investment Plan (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 then discussed with the industry consultation panels 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 fresh potato industry is investing against its SIP outcomes
  • Details on current investments across R&D.

The AIP is published each year and can be seen on this page here.

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 potato advisory panel.

Hort Innovation develops draft investment recommendations based on investment ideas that are aligned to the potato fresh 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 potato advisory panel consists of supply-chain stakeholders from both the fresh and processing potato industries, 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 advisory panel 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 panel 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 Potato – Fresh Fund are detailed in the Your investments page of this Potato – Fresh 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 Australian potato industry communication and extension project (PT20000), also provides regular information on levy-funded activity.

Financial documents

Annual Investment Plan
R&D contracted projects
R&D investment summary – 2022/23 to 2026/27
R&D 5-year forecast
Fund actuals at 2022/23 and forecast to 2026/27

Advisory panel details




Tim Heysen

Heysen Partners


Pennie Patane

Patane Produce


Ben Dowling

Dowling AgriTech


Daryl Lohrey

Lohrey Pastoral


Ian Simpson

The Mitolo Group


John Creswell

Creswell Holdings


Jo Tubb

Simplot Australia


Josh Opas

McCain Foods (Aust)


Brett Pemberton



Anne Ramsay



Callum Fletcher



Michael Rettke PIRSA (NHRN Representative) SA
2022/23 Fund Annual Report
2022/23 Fund Annual Report
Strategic Investment Plan
Strategic Investment Plan
SIP – At a glance
SIP – At a glance
Annual Investment Plan 2023/24
Annual Investment Plan 2023/24