The program started in July 2006 supported by $1 million of funding from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry's Industry Partnership Program. That funding finished in June 2008 but the APAL Board agreed to continue the program for another two years until June 2011, supported by Horticulture Australia Ltd funding.
AgFirst, a leading consultancy company from New Zealand, is again providing consultancy services to the project. AgFirst, which has specialist horticultural skills, was chosen after an international search was conducted to find the skills and experience required for the consultancy.
The main drivers of the project are to lower orchard production costs per kilogram of fruit, increase the percentage of premium fruit harvested and bring Australian orchardists up to international competitiveness in the domestic and export markets.
The purpose of Future Orchards 2012 is to provide a roadmap to an internationally competitive Australian apple and pear industry.
Future Orchards 2012 goals are: