News and Views

New Strategic Plan to shape the future of sugarcane research

Sugar Research Australia (SRA) has released its new five-year Strategic Plan, following an extensive development and consultation process with growers, millers, government investors, and other stakeholders.

SRA CEO Mr Neil Fisher said SRA has listened to its investors and is responding to their call for SRA to deliver research that has a real impact on-farm, at-mill and in the communities and environment in which the sugarcane industry operates.

This brand new Strategic Plan allows SRA to addresses the challenges and opportunities facing the Australian sugarcane industry with a focus on research where SRA can have the most impact.

In short, SRA aims to deliver research that has a transformational impact on the profitability, sustainability, and resilience of the industry.

“Through our consultations, our investors were clear that they need SRA to be delivering tangible outputs and outcomes for sugarcane growers and millers,” Mr Fisher said.

“Our investors, through the Strategic Plan, have identified particular areas of attention and investment for SRA in coming years, which includes improving the efficiency of the sugarcane breeding program, improving adoption and communication, enhancing soil health while minimising nutrient run-off, and continuing to work on the yellow canopy syndrome dilemma.

“The bottom line is that SRA exists to help put more dollars in the back pocket of growers and millers, who underpin regional jobs and economies in large areas of Queensland and NSW.

“SRA is committed to being accountable for our investment, and we do that through measuring and reporting on our performance. Our Strategic Plan has clear measures of success, and we are accountable to these measures through an annual Performance Report, and an Independent Performance Review every three years.

“SRA has also consulted widely with our Commonwealth and State government investors, and our Strategic Plan aligns with the National Sugarcane Industry Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) Strategy, the Commonwealth Government’s Science and Research Priorities and Rural Research, Development and Extension Priorities, and the Queensland Government’s Strategic Objectives for investment in the sugarcane industry.

“What sets this Strategic Plan apart from our previous plan is the establishment of four goals that underpin our research investment. These are: drive profitability, improve sustainability, enhance capability, and strengthen organisational excellence.”

The Plan also has nine specific Key Focus Areas (KFAs) for SRA’s investment: optimally adapted varieties, plant breeding and release; soil health, nutrient management and sustainability; pest disease and weed management; farming systems and harvesting; milling efficiency and technology; product diversification and value addition; knowledge and technology transfer and adoption; collaboration and capability development; and organisational effectiveness.

“Each year, our Strategic Plan is enacted through an Annual Operational Plan, which has also now been released for 2017/18,” Mr Fisher said.

“These plans ensure SRA is positioned to lead, partner and invest in research, development and adoption activities that will enable growers and millers to remain profitable and our industry resilient over the long-term.”

The Strategic Plan and the 2017/18 Annual Operational Plan have been approved by the SRA Board and the Commonwealth Government. They are available on the SRA website.

Source: SRA

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