The Australian Government will invest $86 million to establish eight Adoption and Innovation Hubs across regional Australia and will develop a Digital Foundations for Agriculture Strategy (the Digital Strategy).
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud, said the Research and Adoption program is one of the eight foundational programs of the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund, while the Digital Strategy forms part of the National Agricultural Innovation Agenda.
“Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs will support networks of researchers, farmers, agricultural businesses and community groups to enhance drought resilience practice, tools and technology.
“The hubs will also break down silos and provide a physical location where researchers and the community can come together to develop ideas that build drought resilience.
“The end result will see a range of enduring institutions that cement partnerships among key organisations.
“I have been working with the Rural Research and Development Corporations (RDCs) to support improved collaboration, increased flow of investment and transformative innovation by establishing a special purpose joint investment company. These Hubs will provide a direct link for research providers such as the RDCs to the farmers, by providing a way for farmers to co-design innovative solutions that deliver real impact on-farm and along the supply chain.
The Hubs will be located in regional areas that reflect the key agricultural and climatic zones across the country. The regions targeted are:
- Southern NSW
- Southern QLD/Northern NSW
- South-West WA
- Top End NT/WA
- Tropical North Queensland
- South Australia
“Through the program there will also be $11 million in funding for Drought Resilience Innovation Grants to support drought resilience initiatives for farmers, community groups, industry, and researchers.”
Competitive processes to appoint the Hubs and a regional university to lead delivery of this program is expected to open in October 2020.
“In addition to drought innovation hubs, I am also announcing the development of a Digital Foundations for Agriculture Strategy that will set the foundations for widespread uptake of digital technologies across our agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries.
“We know that digital technologies and agtech will drive the next wave of growth for the sector.
“In fact, the Australian Farm Institute estimates full adoption of digital tools by the agriculture sector could boost productivity by around $20.3 billion each year.
“Over the coming months, we will also develop a National Agricultural Innovation Policy Statement to position the sector to reap the benefits of innovation, delivering for the Australian economy and our regional communities.”
A National Agricultural Innovation Policy Statement will set out ambitious mission-oriented investment priorities to address significant cross-sectoral challenges—focusing effort and investment across the agricultural innovation system to achieve a step-change in productivity at the farm gate and along the supply chain.
For more information about the Future Drought Fund and other drought resilience building programs visit: www.agriculture.gov.au/fdf
To read more about the National Agricultural Innovation Agenda visit: www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/innovation/national-ag-innovation-agenda