Regional focus: Mildura
Mildura has a long history in Australian agribusiness, and its strong foundation has given rise to the region’s position as an industry leader, particularly in horticulture.
Grazing and farming in the region dates back to the 1800s, and it was also Australia’s first irrigation settlement. Today, Mildura represents about 74% of Australia’s horticulture acres with a gross product at the farm gate of $3.4 billion per year.
The region has strong sectors across horticulture, particularly citrus (around 273,000 tonnes were exported from Australia last year), with some varieties such as the pink navel fetching as much as $1,300 per tonne. Mildura is also a leader in almond production – it is one of five major growing regions in the country and produces over 70% of Australian almonds. Due to the capabilities in Mildura and other almond growing areas, Australia is set to overtake Spain as the second largest almond producer in the world.
The region is also a key national producer for grapes (20% of the national crush, 74% of national table grapes and 95% of dried grapes). Other growing sectors include olives, vegetables, grain, livestock, salt harvesting (including the famous Murray River pink salt), mushrooms and honey.
Locals, government and investors are working together to ensure Mildura maintains its position as a strong agribusiness hub for Australia. They are coming together within the Mildura Regional Development (MRD), an organisation committed to using the latest forward-thinking technology to create further value in the region. Agribusiness, particularly for agtech and investment, is a main benefactor to the MRD programs.
Under MRD, local knowledge and entrepreneurship come together at SproutX and the Glass House. Through acceleration programs and co-working space programs, MRD aims to get big ideas off the ground and stimulate innovation in agtech. According to CEO of MRD, Daryl Buckingham, ‘the core focus of the Mildura Regional Development Strategic Plan is to support and grow the region’s economy by capitalising on current assets and attract new investment, innovation and business’. MRD has set up co-working offices in Mildura and Melbourne to get locals and entrepreneurs working together.
Mildura has had an early start in Aussie agribusiness, and has grown from strength to strength in what it does best. With optimal sunny weather, strong horticulture businesses and a future-forward approach to agtech – Mildura is sure to maintain its position as one of the top growing regions in Australia.