What we eat, and more importantly, how it’s farmed is about to change in Australia. Australian Food and Agribusiness is recognised as a major and growing sector of the economy with exponential potential growth in exports and highly skilled jobs – but this growth will only come if a digital evolution rapidly unlocks the potential.
Today the Federal Government took a great step in the right direction, announcing it will provide $50M funding to the Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre (CRC). When added to the $160 million in cash and in-kind commitments from industry partners, including KPMG, it puts $210 million on the table to help Australia transform how it produces food.
Food Agility is about applying technology to help agriculture reach the next level. It’s about developing new ways to respond to consumer demands, using big data to help increase farmers’ productivity and to cut agricultural waste. It’s about building and integrating complex global logistics systems. It’s about improving and maintaining trusted regulation, and managing complex natural systems.
This investment in building a dedicated Food Agility CRC will help Australia capitalise on the major role it has feeding a global population that is heading towards 9.6 Billion over coming decades. It is estimated that, globally, it will require over $900 Billion dollars of capital investment to meet this challenge. Being able to feed humanity is of course about more than dollars.
The Food Agility CRC is a major step in building a capacity to nurture companies capable of managing risk, production, logistics and skills to support that development. It does this by bringing together 54 partners, including major corporations, state and commonwealth government, technical universities from across Australia and technology innovators to collectively deliver the capability and capacity to deliver fast and market ready solutions.
I am immensely proud to see KPMG step up as a lead partner for the Food Agility CRC. With a focus on the digital transformation of production, Australia’s clean green brand, access to finance, and building workforce capability, we will work to deliver insights and services to Australian investors, consumers, exporters, processors, logistics managers, governments and producers through the partnership.
KPMG will also bring both our dedicated Internet of Things and AgTech practices to provide a focal point for delivering the thought leadership and services needed for Australian Food and Fibre companies and their global partners to realise this ambitious future.
At stake is not just an economic imperative for Australia, but a chance for us to step up to the global stage and ensure there is food on the table as the world’s population approaches 10 billion people.