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Innovation, Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability in Australia

image of Innovation, Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability in Australia

Australia’s agriculture and food industries are well placed to contribute to the economy’s future growth given the robust prospects of global food demand and the continuing high international competitiveness of these sectors. There are, however, important challenges that call for new ways to exploit agricultural resources and human capital. The decade-long decline in agricultural productivity growth needs to be overcome, coupled with the need to accommodate uncertainties about the impacts of climate change and to respond to societal demands in the areas of sustainable development and animal welfare. The agro-food sector also needs to absorb exchange-rate and cost pressures created by the mining boom. To tap additional opportunities of the higher value food segments, Australian agri-businesses need new knowledge and capabilities to seize demand signals and value opportunities, particularly from more affluent consumers in Asian markets.

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Capacity building and services for the Australian food and agriculture system

This chapter outlines the role of infrastructure capacity, skills and education in facilitating innovation in agri-food. It describes the governance of policies to improve rural infrastructure, outlines main regional programmes and reviews briefly the quality and coverage of rural services. It then discusses efforts to respond to skills demand from the agri-food sector through labour, immigration and education policy. It also reports on trends in education expenditure and outlines the performance of education system. Finally, it provides an overview of education levels in agricultural, and enrolment in agricultural programmes, outlining the gap between skills supply and demand in the sector.

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