In November 2022, AEGIC celebrated 10 years of building long-term value for Australian grain growers.

Since 2012, the AEGIC team has built strong support through the Australian grains supply chain by working closely with stakeholders and demonstrating the value we deliver to growers and industry.

In these interviews, inaugural AEGIC Director Matt Macfarlane, former CEO Richard Simonaitis, and Dr Hayfa Salman and Dr Siem Siah from AEGIC’s Sydney office reflect on AEGIC’s beginnings, challenges and successes.

Matt Macfarlane

Matt Macfarlane has been both an investor and an entrepreneur in early stage tech startups, actively participating in the startup eco-system in Perth for over 15 years. Matt was appointed as an inaugural Director of AEGIC and has been with AEGIC since the very beginning.

Dr Hayfa Salman

Hayfa Salman is the leader of AEGIC Sydney’s Analytical Services team, which is highly regarded as a key provider of grain and food quality testing services for the Australian grain and food industries. Ever since the Sydney team joined with AEGIC in late 2015, Dr Salman has also led research projects into whole grains for better health.

Richard Simonaitis

Richard Simonaitis was appointed AEGIC CEO in early 2016 and was a key driver of AEGIC’s success. Richard led the development of a new strategic plan which put delivering impact and stakeholder engagement at the centre of AEGIC’s work. Richard is now CEO of Grains Australia.

Dr Siem Siah

Siem Siah is a Senior Research Scientist with AEGIC Sydney. Dr Siah joined AEGIC Perth in 2014, before shifting to the AEGIC Sydney office in 2016. She has led several key research projects, including building a new Australian soft wheat industry for cookies and cakes, and Australian wheat for premium Chinese noodles.

AEGIC celebrates 10 years

AEGIC is celebrating 10 years of building long-term value for Australian grain growers.

AEGIC was established in 2012 by the Western Australian Government and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) to increase value in the Australian grains industry.

AEGIC gathers, analyses and shares market intelligence the industry needs to breed, classify, grow and supply grain that markets prefer.

AEGIC Chair Ron Storey said the AEGIC team had evolved and worked tirelessly over the past decade to deliver tangible value to growers and industry.

“AEGIC has now built strong support through the grains supply chain, and an excellent reputation for Australian grains in domestic and international markets,” he said.

“We are delighted with the positive stakeholder support we receive, but equally we encourage their continued feedback so that we continue to improve.”

Earlier this year, GRDC and the WA Government reaffirmed their support for AEGIC through to 2025-26 with $24 million total core investment.

GRDC Chair John Woods congratulated AEGIC on a decade of delivering key market intel for Australian grain growers.

“Grain markets are dynamic and evolving and AEGIC has played and will continue to play a vital role in helping us understand signals and drivers that ensure Australia develops and maintains markets,” Mr Woods said.

“AEGIC has firmly focused on the long game in building pathways to new grain markets, developing value-added products, understanding consumer trends and customer requirements and providing critical market analysis to ensure our grain is given preferential treatment in global markets.

“We are looking forward to continuing to grow the strong partnership between AEGIC and Grains Australia to deepen our ability to get the best outcomes for growers in domestic and export markets.”

Mr Storey paid tribute to past AEGIC leaders, particularly former Chair Terry Enright and former CEO Richard Simonaitis for their key roles in steering AEGIC’s strategic direction.

“On behalf of AEGIC, I thank our Members DPIRD and GRDC for their continued support and their vision and courage for creating AEGIC ten years ago; it is paying dividends,” he said.

“Most importantly, thank you to the AEGIC staff and my fellow Directors for their dedication and professionalism.

“We look forward to continuing to deliver value for growers and industry in the next decade.”

AEGIC background

AEGIC is an independent, not-for-profit company established in 2012 to increase value in the Australian grains industry.

Established in 2012, AEGIC is an investment of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and the Western Australian Government through the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).

AEGIC has offices in Perth and Sydney staffed by leading industry experts. Facilities include research laboratories, pilot mill, pilot bakery and commercial analytical laboratories.

AEGIC’s primary beneficiaries are Australian grain growers. AEGIC works directly with industry stakeholders to create value opportunities throughout the value chain. They in turn distribute that value back to growers.

AEGIC’s activities ultimately deliver value to growers by:

  • creating more market opportunities for Australian grains;
  • fostering brand loyalty so customers have a longer lasting interest in purchasing Australian grain;
  • maintaining access and/or price premiums in discerning markets;
  • developing new market opportunities and high value alternative uses for Australian grain;
  • improving market diversification to manage risk and develop new opportunities; and
  • expanding on-farm risk management options by developing markets for a portfolio of grain types, classes and grades.

These benefits flow to all stakeholders across the grain supply chain.

Key achievements

Some of AEGIC’s most valuable work in recent years includes gathering and interpreting market insights to guide future wheat quality requirements, diversifying markets for Australian malting barley, stimulating demand for Australian feed grains, and developing innovative new oat noodle and oat “rice” products.

AEGIC is also helping establish a new soft wheat industry for the fast-growing Asian cookies and cakes category, in collaboration with breeding companies and the broader industry.

In 2017, AEGIC, in conjunction with other industry bodies, helped secure access to the $1 billion EU canola market by proving Australian canola meets strict European emission requirements. AEGIC is also building knowledge and analysis of pulses and plant protein opportunities.

AEGIC’s ongoing program of virtual crop inspection videos and technical webinars maintained vital connections with customers during COVID.