Lavender industry benefits from research

La Trobe University agribusiness experts are teaming up with AgriFutures Australia for nation-wide research aimed at maximising Australia’s emerging lavender industry’s long-term future.

In partnership with AgriFutures Australia, researchers at the La Trobe Institute for Agriculture and Food (LIAF) will investigate how the fragrant crop is grown, marketed and sold, and will conduct industry-wide consultations to inform a comprehensive long-term Research, Development & Extension plan for the budding industry.

The work will identify opportunities for investment and growth across the full range of lavender products, including cosmetics, cut flowers, aromatherapy and agri-tourism.

Lead investigator and LIAF Research Director, Professor Jim Whelan, said the research will provide, for the first time, a holistic understanding of Australia’s lavender industry.

“There is a significant unmet local and export demand for quality Australian lavender oil and hydrosol, with millions of dollars of potential revenue for the industry lost each year,” Professor Whelan said.

“This research will identify growth opportunities and provide the Australian lavender industry with a much-needed plan to grow, meet market demands and identify opportunities for business expansion.

“The potential benefits will be huge for lavender growers, producers, manufacturers, and service providers,” Professor Whelan said.

The plan will provide new information for farmers already growing lavender as well as those who are seeking the benefits of a new diversified crop and wider business investment opportunities.

Project partner and producer, Mr Clive Larkman, said lavender grown in Australia has many strengths.

It is hardy, does not need pesticides, has low water needs, and can be used for diversification by supplementing crops to better manage risk on farms where climatic conditions may reduce other farm outputs,” said Mr Larkman.

The plan will be informed by research conducted with the Australian lavender industry and provide insight into current and future practices and standards.

It builds on the AgriFutures Australia funded project Optimisation of Lavender Oil, which sees LIAF report on growth and extraction techniques, to maximise the quantity and quality of lavender oil.

AgriFutures Australia Manager, Emerging Industries, Ms Laura Skipworth said she was looking forward to working with LIAF as they develop the plan.

“We are pleased to once again partner with LIAF to deliver an industry RD&E plan informed by extensive engagement with industry, including growers and manufacturers,” Ms Skipworth said.

“This plan will deliver a road map for identifying the areas of RD&E investment that would see the largest impact for industry and build confidence in the future of the industry.”

RD&E plan is a partnership project delivered in association with lavender producer Larkman Nurseries; essential oil distiller and exporter Golden Grove Naturals and The Australian Lavender Industry Growers Association (TALGA).

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