One of Australia’s largest horticultural companies Costa Group, is teaming up with Australia’s leading agricultural educator the University of New England, to develop a more efficient and productive horticulture industry.
A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with the primary intention to “investigate opportunities for co-funded research and development”.
UNE Vice-Chancellor Professor Jim Barber said the MoU was an important first step in building a long term and mutually beneficial relationship.
“Costa is a highly reputable and progressive organisation and we look forward to working closely in a wide range of research with them. Our expertise in horticulture and development of sustainable agricultural processes fits very well with Costa ideals,” Professor Barber said.
“This relationship will put UNE’s world class researchers in the box seat, with one of the biggest players in the horticulture industry, to identify areas of greatest benefit for industry as a whole.”
The two parties will work closely to investigate sustainability opportunities, including recycling programs and by-product development from organic waste matter – around 150 tonnes per week at Guyra – and environmentally sustainable and efficient water usage including recycling technologies. Biological pest management, leaf and water testing protocols, and robotic applications will also be addressed.
General Manager of Costa Tomato Exchange Oliver Flint said the agreement was the first step in a logical partnership between two institutions in Australian agriculture.
“We are excited about the opportunities that this relationship presents, as we believe there are some important synergies between our business and UNE,” Mr Flint said.
“At Costa Group, we’re always looking for the latest research and new techniques to improve our productivity, quality and sustainability. UNE is Australia’s premier Agricultural Education provider with a global reputation for excellence in Agriculture research.”
“We’re interested in co-funding valuable research in horticulture and here at UNE, right on our doorstep, we have world-renowned scientists available.”