Agricultural Innovation Australia to harness power of RDCs

Grain Central, October 6, 2020

THE formation of a new company, Agricultural Innovation Australia (AIA), will harness the collective power of rural research and development corporations (RDCs) to drive a nationally focused, whole-of-sector approach to agricultural innovation that will increase impact on-farm and along the supply chain.

As part of the reform, all 15 RDCs have come together to form the new company to drive cross-industry research, leverage private sector investment and target transformational innovation.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said the creation of AIA would be a game changer in driving unprecedented collaboration and coordination of investment in agricultural innovation.

“AIA will capitalise on cross-industry opportunities to drive productivity, sustainability and profitability in agriculture by leveraging the power of collaboration,” Minister Littleproud said.

“The RDCs have stepped up and shown leadership in response to extensive stakeholder feedback about how collaboration can be improved. But this isn’t only about the RDCs.

“AIA will bring work with the private sector to attract investment, bringing new perspectives and players to agricultural innovation.

“AIA is a key element of the Australian Government’s new National Agricultural Innovation Agenda to modernise Australia’s agricultural innovation system.

“That is why the Australian Government is committing $1.3 million in seed funding for the first AIA investment strategies to fast-track action on the ground.”

Special-purpose investment vehicle

GrainGrowers chief executive officer, David McKeon, said with most farm businesses running mixed enterprises, R&D projects had been too fragmented and there had not been optimal value back to levy payers. This new entity represented a positive way forward for all commodities.

David McKeon

He said AIA was a focussed, special purpose investment vehicle that would facilitate cross industry investment as well as attract commercial interest from Australia and overseas in agricultural research and development.

“The majority of our growers run livestock in addition to cropping and the siloed nature of rural research and development corporations alongside the complexities of several joint projects means there has not been a focussed approach to the wide variety of issues that impact all farm businesses,” Mr McKeon said.

“AIA will be able to focus on attracting greater RD&E investment and tackling the big industry issues, such as climate change, biosecurity and soil research. This is a great opportunity to deliver significant benefits for Australian farmers.

New era for farming sector

Chair of the Council of RDCs and Grains Research and Development Corporation, John Woods, said AIA represented an exciting new era for Australia’s farming sector.

“AIA will transform investment in Australian agriculture. Having a single entity to lead cross-industry strategies will make it easier for investors from around the world to navigate and partner with our agricultural system,” Mr Woods said.

“Activities undertaken by AIA will focus on areas with greatest impact across multiple agricultural industries. To avoid duplication of effort, when prioritising opportunities for investment, consideration will be given to existing RDC and industry strategies.”

Sources: Federal Government, GrainGrowers

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