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Growers Vegetable Fund Fund management

Fund management

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

What is the vegetable levy?

Levy is payable on vegetables that are produced in Australia and either sold by the producer or used by the producer in the production of other goods. The levy rate on vegetables is 0.5 per cent of the gross sale value of the vegetables at the first point of sale.

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 Vegetable 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 vegetable Strategic Investment Plan?

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

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

The vegetable 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 vegetable industry will work towards achieving the outcomes.

For the previous vegetable SIP, a performance report has been developed to demonstrate how investments delivered in the Vegetable Fund from 2016/17 to 2020/21 generated impact for vegetable 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 vegetable SIP 2017-2021, going forward an annual performance report will be provided for the vegetable SIP 2022-2026.

View the vegetable SIP 2017-2021 performance report here.

What is the vegetable Annual Investment Plan?

While the vegetable SIP provides an oversight of investment over the next five years, the vegetable 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 vegetable 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 vegetable advisory panel.

Hort Innovation develops draft investment recommendations based on investment ideas that are aligned to the vegetable 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 vegetable advisory panel 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 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 Vegetable Fund are detailed in the Your investments page of this Vegetable 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 National vegetable industry communications program (VG18000), also provides regular information on levy-funded activity.

Annual Investment Plan

The documents below make up the vegetable AIP 2023/24 and explain how investments will be prioritised over the 12-month period. It provides details on funding availability, how the vegetable industry is investing against its SIP outcomes, and details on current R&D investments.

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

Pre-farm gate




Jason McNeill

Premium Fresh Tasmania


Damir (Dan) Kuzmicich ST Kuzmicich Family Trust WA
Stuart Grigg Stuart Grigg Ag-Hort Consulting/Bolwarrah Springs VIC
Richard Cobbledick Cobbledick Produce SA SA
Jono Craven Harvest Moon TAS and NSW
Andrew Johanson Mulgowie Farming Company QLD
Daniel Tan The University of Sydney NSW

Post-farm gate




Michael Coote



Sam Kisvarda Flavorite VIC
Catherine Velisha Velisha Farms VIC

Andrew Moon



Greg Owens

NT Farmers


Shane Quinn



Donella Van der Est Mulgowie Farming Company QLD

Kingsley Songer

4 Ways Fresh Produce


Lynley Van Lathum

Rugby Farms


Kees Versteeg



Katie de Villiers One Harvest National
Gie Liem Deakin University/ CASS Food Centre VIC
Clem Hodgman Barden Farms QLD
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