Investing in agriculture’s future: CPD case studies report | DISCUSSION PAPER | September 2013

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  • Investing in agriculture’s future: CPD case studies report | DISCUSSION PAPER | September 2013

NRC visit photoCPD case studies inform sustainable food summit

Public policy think tank Global Access Partners holds its annual growth summit each September in the Parliament House of a hosting state for a select audience of senior executives from academia, the public and private sectors. This year’s Summit, held in NSW Parliament House, focused on food sustainability, international food markets and agriculture.

The Summit will discuss the economic contribution of Australian agriculture to domestic and international markets; the scope for further growth while ensuring sustainability; trade policy; infrastructure and the impact of long-distance food transportation; the commercialisation of Australian produce, investment in long-term agricultural R&D; and policies to support sustainable farming and improvements in soil condition and irrigation schemes.

New CPD researcher Richard Northcott has interviewed numerous agricultural practitioners from several states about their choice of farming methodologies, and how these have impacted their properties’ performance and profitability. The case studies were distributed to summit participants, and supplied to specialist media outlets.

The global food boom could be a bonanza for Australian agriculture. Demand is predicted to rise 60 per cent by 2050, mostly due to rising incomes in Asia. Average food prices are expected to be 20 to 30 per cent higher over the next decade compared to the last. Yet agricultural productivity growth has halved since the 1960s. That means increasing production will take more land, water, labour or capital than before. Much of Australia’s land is already highly degraded by soil erosion, water degradation and biodiversity loss, which further threatens farming returns. Climate change makes the outlook even more uncertain.So how can Australia grasp the big opportunity presented by rising food demand in Asia?

This report follows Laura Eadie’s recent Developing the North fact sheet, which analysed the populist policy idea in the context of real evidence.

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