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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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The Australian Agricultural Innovation System

This chapter outlines the role of a well-functioning agricultural innovation system in ensuring good use of public funds, and higher responsiveness to the needs of ‘innovation consumers’ through improved collaboration between public and private participants, including across national borders. A well-functioning agricultural innovation system is key to improving the economic, environmental and social performance of the food and agriculture sector. The long-term positive impact of agricultural R&D on productivity growth is well established, and technologies and practices can help improve the sustainability of natural resource use.

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