The formation of an industry-led organisation to drive on-farm pig research and development has received support from the Department of Agriculture and Food.
Pork Innovation WA (PIWA) has been established by the Western Australian pork industry to take over on-farm research, development and extension and enhance industry growth.
The department will provide $800,000 over three years to support the establishment of PIWA and provide access to its research facilities and equipment.
PIWA is taking over existing work contracted by Australian Pork Limited and the Pork CRC, and the department will continue to provide strategic advice to ensure on-farm research, development and extension activities aligns with government and industry growth objectives.
Department Grains and Livestock Executive Director Peter Metcalfe said PIWA would provide the industry with greater flexibility and agility to develop productive research and development partnerships.
“Innovative partnerships and collaboration throughout the supply chain are essential for the pork industry to achieve sustainable growth,” Mr Metcalfe said.
“This will enable PIWA to strengthen ties between research providers and producers and improve industry links throughout the supply chain.”
PIWA Chairman Rob Wilson said the new business model would enable the company to attract funding partners.
“This is a great time to invest in the WA pork industry and grow the value of the sector to satisfy increasing international demand for premium pork products,” Dr Wilson said.
“PIWA has recently been successful in obtaining a grant of $413,500 through the department’s Agricultural Science Research and Development project, made possible by Royalties for Regions investment, to undertake a large study on free-range pork production – an area of production of particular relevance to the WA industry.
“The project is focused on an opportunity to establish Western Australia as a centre for the production of high quality, free range pork,” Dr Wilson said.
“This project will involve a study of market demand and consumer behaviour, along with bio-economic modelling, to better inform the value chain of management options for increasing supply and demand of free range pork.
“It aims to deliver a clear understanding of the drivers of demand for free range pork in WA, improved understanding of carcase specifications and pork quality attributes; enhance productivity and modify environmental effects in free range production and increase the confidence of operators to enter into or expand free range production.”
PIWA will continue to conduct research in close collaboration with industry and other research institutions, and several research scientists previously employed by DAFWA are now contracted to PIWA to provide on-going research for the pork industry.