FARM POLICY JOURNAL

Autumn 2016, Vol. 13, No. 1

Switching on farm innovation

Agriculture was the standout sector of the Australian economy in the 1980s and 1990s when it came to productivity growth, with annual rates exceeding 2% per annum for much of this period. Since the end of the 1990s, however, the sector has experienced a significant slowdown and has only achieved very low or negative rates of productivity growth. A critical challenge for policy-makers and industry leaders is finding ways to reinvigorate innovation and productivity growth, in order for the sector to remain internationally competitive.
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Five Ways to Improve the Agricultural Innovation System in Australia

Michael Robertson, Brian Keating, Daniel Walker, Graham Bonnett and Andrew Hall

Australian agriculture faces the dual challenges of meeting a massive market opportunity for food exports in the face of declining rates of productivity growth. The aim of this paper is to critically examine the state and function of the agricultural innovation system in Australia and whether it is fit-for-purpose given the opportunities and challenges that confront agriculture. We propose that the vision for a ‘healthy’ innovation system should be framed in terms of entrepreneurial activity and public policy intervention, rather than the traditional narrative of infrastructure, funding modalities, and expenditure.
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Innovation in Australia’s Agrifood Systems: Are Australia’s Universities Ready for the Next Challenge?

Snow Barlow, Ross Kingwell, Jim Pratley and Brian Keating

Australia’s universities play a key role in the agricultural innovation ecosystem, publishing the majority of the agricultural research papers and training the next generation of agricultural researchers and practitioners. Australia’s university sector could play a major role in the national agricultural ecosystem if university researchers and their postgraduate students could be incentivised to contribute, by recognition of the impact of their research on industry in the ERA process and by industry levy funding for more strategic research being available. buy now


Research Frontiers in Agrifood Systems

Les Copeland

This paper looks at research frontiers with potential to increase agricultural productivity. The digital revolution has brought fresh and innovative approaches to answering fundamental questions about plants, animals and soils. Recent advances in biotechnology have opened up new ways to explore the genetic potential of food plants and animals, their response to stress, and the effects of genotype by environment interactions on complex traits such as yield, quality and plant-soil interactions. The key to capturing opportunities to boost productivity will be continuing to foster imaginative research leading to the discovery and adoption of new technology. buy now


Challenges to Effective Interaction in the New Zealand Agricultural Research and Extension System: An Innovation Systems Analysis

James A Turner, Kelly Rijswijk, Tracy Williams, Tim Barnard and Laurens Klerkx

This study used semi-structured interviews to evaluate the perceived effectiveness of interactions among those mandated to develop and diffuse knowledge that meets the identified needs of farmers/growers in the New Zealand primary sector, as well as the users of knowledge, practices and technologies. We used the systemic innovation policy framework, which integrates the structural and functional streams of innovation system enquiry. buy now


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