Web portal helps farmers embrace change and prepare for the future

Thursday, 04 December, 2014

If the agriculture sector wants to take advantage of high-value niche opportunities in global markets, a more rapid uptake and leverage of innovation is a must, according to a leading market expert.

Craig Swanger, chief investment officer for Engenious Private Equity, and former CEO of Macquarie Agricultural Funds Management, said that Australia must move rapidly to exploit the opportunities created by the trade deal with China.

“International competition is fierce. Australia has a very strong global reputation for high-quality food and fibre, but innovation is essential to identify the most prospective niche products and to efficiently get product to market,” Swanger said, speaking ahead of the national launch of the AgInnovators portal.

The portal is an initiative of NSW Farmers and is focused on modernising the Australian food and fibre industry. It is supported by national and international partners including NICTA, CSIRO, Rabobank, the Department of Industry, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Sense-T and the University of New England. They will contribute content to help connect the world of technology, business and communication with leading agricultural thinkers.

AgInnovators is at the centre of the push by NSW Farmers to help the sector prepare for the future. The association expects AgInnovators to become the place to go to for news and information about breakthrough research, innovative strategies and announcements within agriculture.

NSW Farmers’ CEO Matt Brand said that taking advantage of the Australia-China trade deal depended on increasing the competitiveness and efficiency of the entire agricultural value chain.

“Australian agriculture is at a turning point. The potential arising from new markets and new technology is huge. Old thinking, and farmers staying on their side of the farmgate, won’t cut it. Everyone in the industry must embrace change and work collaboratively to build the brand and restore local food and fibre manufacturing,” he said.

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