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Agribusiness urged to focus on innovation and marketing.



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DAFF04/37T - 8 June 2004

Agribusiness urged to focus on innovation and marketing

DAFF04/37T 8 June 2004

Australia agricultural industries have always had an enviable track record for innovation, and research and development, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Senator Judith Troeth said today.

Senator Troeth told the Meeting Market Needs: Innovation for Growth in Agribusiness conference in Brisbane that the agricultural community needs to remain focused on marketing and innovation.

"The Australian Government - through its Backing Australia's Ability initiative - was targeting three main areas of innovation: developing and retaining skills; strengthening Australia's ability to generate ideas and undertake research; and accelerating the commercialisation of ideas.

"Strengthening Australia's ability to generate ideas and undertake research was at the core of rural innovation and was strongly linked to meeting market needs," the Senator said.

Research and development has helped ensure the rural sector's productivity keeps improving by delivering new knowledge and technologies that have contributed to an average annual productivity increase of 2.2 per cent over the past 20 years.

The Senator said that the total value of farm exports has risen by 24 per cent over the past five years, even though drought had a major impact on the sector's production in some years.

"The market of today is vastly different from what it was 30 years ago - even 10 years ago," the Senator said. "It is more demanding about the quality and safety of the product - it demands the delivery of goods on time and in perfect condition, every time."

"Above all, today's market is more competitive because we are competing in a global economy in almost all the products we produce. To stay ahead in the marketplace, we must be innovative not only in the way we produce goods, but also in how we market them.

The Meeting Market Needs: Innovation for Growth in Agribusiness conference is backed by the Australian Government's New Industries Development Program (NIDP), which encourages and supports Australian agribusinesses as they commercialise new market-driven products, services and technologies.

It has been developed for people in agribusiness and includes sector-specific workshops on new industries - meat and livestock, food, aquaculture, and grains. It also includes seminars on managing supply chains, marketing and guaranteeing business processes, and profile building and specialist workshops on meeting export market needs, regulatory issues, managing relationships and protecting intellectual property.

Senator Troeth's Speech

Further media inquiries: Senator Troeth's office: Allison Murphy (02) 6277 3002 or 0408 917 639

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