Sunday 26th May, 2019

Australia ranked 20th in world for rural innovation, new plan to grow industry

A new report has ranked Australia as 20th in the world when it comes to rural innovation and includes a new strategic vision that aims to improve the sector help Australia reach $100 billion in farm production.

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud has released the Agriculture Innovation System Vision report, developed by Ernst and Young. It compares the Australian innovation system to the best in the world to set high level goals which can be developed at ground level.

Australia’s rural innovation was ranked 20th in the world, despite the fact it has more researchers than both the United States and the Netherlands, which ranked in the top six. Around 80 per cent or more than 550 stakeholders surveyed favoured reforms to the current system.

The report recommends better strategic leadership in research by improving connections and collaboration, the ability to deal with short term challenges, investing in technology which can transform industries across multiple commodities, and establishing innovation practices such as disruptive thinking, risk taking and ambition.

It also recommends providing regions with a greater role in setting national priorities and establishing a modern platform to share data while working on improving physical infrastructure and regulations.

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“For agriculture to become a $100 billion industry, we need to keep innovating and convert smart ideas into tools the farm industry can use,” Littleproud said.

“Converting good research into tools and technology helps create careers our country kids can come home to.

“That requires a world-class, modern agricultural innovation system that attracts investment from around the globe,” he said.

The report said Australia’s innovation system is not keeping pace with its competitors.

“Putting the vision into action will require cultural change, collaboration and cooperation, and tackling shared challenges together including sustainability, climate variability and water scarcity,” Littleproud said.

“Everyone has a role to play: researchers, research and development corporations, industry representatives, producers, processors, investors, government agencies, start-ups, accelerators and incubators.

“The report suggests we need individual regions to contribute more to rural innovation.”