Activating regions through innovation in agriculture

The release of the Agriculture Innovation System Vision report has highlighted increased investment in regional innovation hubs and data infrastructure as critical factors for reaching a goal of a $100 billion agriculture industry by 2030.   

NSW Farmers President James Jackson said food and fibre innovation precincts centred around rapid transport hubs in regional areas, as recommended in the EY report, are central to long-term growth in the agriculture sector. 

“The Future Food Systems Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) bid, led by NSW Farmers in the current CRC round, is an example of the kind of coordinated research effort needed to progress the sector.  We hope the government will get behind this venture and related initiatives.” Mr Jackson said 

“We produce the world’s best goods but ship nearly 90% of them as raw materials – we simply must increase local value adding capability to reap the full benefits of free trade agreements and our global reputation for quality and safety.”

“New technology makes it possible to value add food and fibre here in Australia.   Better focussed R&D coupled with supportive policy and infrastructure investment across state, federal and local government is needed to release the full potential of our agricultural regions.”  

Mr Jackson said the Association fully endorses the reports recommendations to increase flexibility and contestability of funding, scale-up specialised innovation hubs, and encourage diversity and capability to improve outcomes.

“There is immense talent in our sector and we need our R&D institutions to keep pace with technological change and the new thinking of our most innovative farmers.”

“This report is a good starting point for discussion about how to increase investment in our sector and ensure that this investment is focussed on future needs and opportunities. For example, we should look beyond the new Western Sydney airport for agribusiness and innovation hubs and look towards investment in upgrading key regional airports. 

Mr Jackson said the report highlights enhancing regional data infrastructure is an essential ingredient the recipe for an innovative agriculture sector. 

“The speed of change and the opportunities for international collaboration are tied directly to access to world class data and telecommunications. NSW Farmers has been championing the need for access to affordable, reliable and quality telecommunications services. Without this, innovation and collaboration will be stifled.”

“The agricultural sector faces big challenges alongside the big opportunities stemming from innovation.  We need to think differently on how we tackle drought, and our R&D system must be able to work across the current commodity-based siloed approach to research. 

“As the past two years have shown, drought impacts every agricultural commodity and every farming system. Tackling drought should be our number one R&D priority, and there is no reason why this cannot happen through regional innovation hubs. 

See for more information about the CRC. 

Date: Wednesday 6 March 2019
Media Contact:   Michael Burt  | 0428 228 988