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Agribusiness should be at centre of new Innovation investment agenda

Beef Central, 08/12/2015

The Federal Government’s new “innovation” agenda will bring renewed focus and vigor to rural research, development and extension (RD&E), federal agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce believes.

The National Farmers Federation has also welcomed the announcement, describing it the start “of an important cultural shift” for the Australian economy with important implications for the farm sector.

Mr Joyce said the new National Innovation and Science Agenda released on Monday will further boost agricultural innovation efforts.

It would provide additional support for Australian business and researchers to collaborate internationally, for entrepreneurs and innovative start-ups, and for a sharper university focus on research end-users.

It would help Australian farmers, who already have a long history of innovation and problem solving, to farm smarter in the driest inhabited continent on earth.

Government and industry funding is expected to deliver $5.5 billion over the next 10 years through the Rural Research and Development Corporation (RDC) system. According to ABARES, every dollar invested in agriculture R&D returns a $12 return for farmers within 10 years.

“In 2011 Labor planned to support the Productivity Commission’s recommendation to halve the government’s contribution to Research and Development Corporations. It was only immense pressure from the Coalition, supported by agricultural industries that had depended on RD&E innovation to get them through the millennium drought, that forced the government to maintain this critical funding,” Mr Joyce said

“So important is agriculture RD&E that the Coalition Government went to the 2013 Election with a policy to increase RD&E by $100 million in the agriculture sector. Then, in the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, the government doubled this program in recognition of its importance to drive agricultural innovation.

 

 

“Boosting farmgate returns is a core driver of the Coalition Government, and through encouraging commercialisation and adoption of good science into more innovative practices—and the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda adds a further boost to our already robust agricultural R&D framework.”

Innovation investment “good news for farming”: NFF

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) welcomed the National Innovation and Science Agenda announcement and urged the government to consider agribusiness when legislating proposed changes.

“The agriculture industry is teeming with entrepreneurs with ideas for new products, services and business models but we need to ensure that the best and most innovative new business ventures in the agricultural sector have access to the incentives announced,” NFF CEO Simon Talbot said.

The announcement marked the start of an important cultural shift for the Australian economy which would have important implications for the farm sector, Mr Talbot said.

“Agribusiness is at the beginning of an exciting growth period with surging demand for quality Australian produce in key export markets.

“The innovation developed within Australia is also considered to be world-leading and is adopted by agribusiness across the globe further reinforcing the need for continued and strong investment in this area.

“This not only includes on-farm and value chain innovation but also pioneering ideas in how agriculture can meet the demands of a changing climate.

“Bold new ideas will be required to continue to drive this leadership and to respond to the evolving demands placed on the sector in ways that continue to meet the needs of our customers while underpinning prosperity across the agricultural industries.

“Today’s announcements facilitate better commercialisation of innovative ideas and research outcomes and in an agriculture context this will mean more farm-ready technology available more quickly.”

The NFF urged the Government to recognise the potential for start-ups within the agriculture sector.

 

 

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