The National Innovation and Science Agenda launched in 2015 signalled renewed focus on innovation in Australia. Australia’s diverse agricultural sector has an important role in this national innovation drive.
Australian agriculture has been recognised for innovation that has kept it globally competitive and responsive to market and societal demands.
RDCs have played a critical role in delivering this outcome across the sector.
For 30 years agriculture has exceeded every other Australian industry sector – bar technology – in productivity growth. Despite a 50 per cent fall in agricultural terms of trade since 1960, Australian farmers have tripled production and quadrupled the real gross value of their produce.
ABARES’ 2014 Australian Agricultural Productivity Growth report says Australia’s ability to make the most of opportunities presented by growth in global food demand depends on maintaining competitiveness through productivity improvements, which remain the key means to maintaining and improving profitability.
RDCs drive these productivity gains across agriculture by enabling rural research and development and encouraging adoption through effective extension.
For more than 25 years, the RDC model has capably demonstrated the transition from investment in research, to practical application and resulting benefit to end-users. The RDCs’ world-leading extension has fostered innovation on and off-farm.
A broader national focus on innovation provides further opportunity for RDCs to more strongly bind Australian agriculture with innovation and productivity.