FPJ1802 - Allan, M (2021), Maximising the economic contribution of Australian agri-food through an integrated approach to value addition

FPJ1802 - Allan, M (2021), Maximising the economic contribution of Australian agri-food through an integrated approach to value addition

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As Australia’s fastest growing sector, agri-food is second only to mining in terms of its importance to the national economy. But agri-food has an important decision to make – to what extent it will continue business as usual, exporting untapped value-add potential with every container of raw commodity. Alternatively, it could extract the unrealised value domestically, embracing a value-add approach and unlocking the potential of the whole agri-food value chain.

As Australia’s fastest growing sector, agri-food is second only to mining in terms of its importance to the national economy. But agri-food has an important decision to make – to what extent it will continue business as usual, exporting untapped value-add potential with every container of raw commodity. Alternatively, it could extract the unrealised value domestically, embracing a value-add approach and unlocking the potential of the whole agri-food value chain.
Historically, the agri-food sector has operated as numerous independent industries: grains, wine, red meat, etcetera. This has inevitably led to a ‘commodity’ focus anchored to pre-farmgate. As a result, the food processing sector, and value-add potential of Australia’s raw commodities has been an afterthought for too long.
Recognising this conundrum, the Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre, trading as FIAL, commissioned research which quantified the value of the whole agri-food value chain, from paddock to plate. It concluded that the sector, currently contributing $61B, could be contributing $200B by 2030, creating over 300,000 new jobs, if growth opportunities were pursued.
Working along the length of the agri-food value chain across all industries and participants, FIAL proposes it is time to discuss if there are better ways for the sector to operate – to truly work together with a shared focus and vision, rather than a multitude of groups often working at cross purposes to each other.

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