The renaissance of the Australian olive industry which began in the mid nineties triggered a period of rapid growth, which saw the industry expand from a cottage industry entering its ‘start-up’ phase, to what is now an ‘emerging’ commercial industry with domestic and export retail sales of around an estimated $180M per annum. It is expected to become a ‘mature’ industry around 2015-2020. This growth has been supported by many RD&E projects covering all olive supply chain activities including cultivar selection, olive grove management, processing, product storage, industry standards, marketing and customer awareness. In the last 7 years (to 2009/10), 46 RIRDC RD&E projects with an investment value of $4.71M have been completed or are currently in progress.
This new Five-Year Plan is the third for the Olive Industry and is more comprehensive than previous Plans. The Plan outlines the RD&E outcomes that are required to meet the Industry’s vision of being “a sustainable and unified Australian Olive Industry that produces high quality products for domestic and export markets”. Importantly, it provides the essential frame work with which to manage the allocation of funds to RD&E Projects and provides guidance to research institutions and those with relevant research expertise. It also identifies research expertise required in future years.