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Agribusiness 2030: Australia unveils ambitious agribusiness strategy

The Northern Territory Government has unveiled a comprehensive Agribusiness 2030 Strategy, co-designed with industry stakeholders and Indigenous communities, to drive sustainable growth in the Territory’s agribusiness sector. This strategy sets forth a vision to almost double the economic contribution of the agribusiness and aquaculture sectors by 2030, aligning with the overall Northern Territory Government target of a $40 billion economy.

The Northern Territory’s agribusiness sector is a vital contributor to the region’s economy, underpinning regional communities and employing a significant number of Territorians. However, the sector faces various challenges, including infrastructure limitations, regulatory hurdles, resource constraints, and biosecurity threats. The Agribusiness 2030 Strategy aims to address these challenges head-on and provides a roadmap for sustainable growth over the next decade.

The strategy identifies four key strategic priority areas: Engage, Protect, Adapt and Innovate, and Grow. Each priority area has specific objectives and actions designed to drive the sector’s development.

Under the Engage priority, the focus is on strengthening partnerships between government, industry, and Indigenous communities. This includes supporting industry associations, promoting investment opportunities, engaging with key markets, and building community confidence in agribusiness policies and processes.

The Protect priority emphasizes the importance of safeguarding the Territory’s reputation as a supplier of high-quality, safe, and sustainable produce. This involves modernizing legislation and regulations, enhancing biosecurity capabilities, maintaining strong animal welfare standards, and supporting land managers in prioritizing environmental values.

Adapting and innovating is crucial for the sector to capitalize on opportunities and respond to challenges such as climate change and biosecurity threats. The strategy calls for leveraging investment in research and development, supporting the development of new industries, intensifying development on cleared land, and exploring value-adding and manufacturing opportunities.

Finally, the Grow priority focuses on sustainably developing the Territory’s natural resources, acknowledging the aspirations of Indigenous people, and prioritizing support for Aboriginal-led agribusiness and aquaculture development. This includes improving regulatory efficiencies, establishing Sustainable Agribusiness Development Precincts, diversifying the pastoral estate and aquaculture industry, and attracting a diverse workforce.

The Agribusiness 2030 Strategy identifies several potential growth areas and sets aspirational targets for specific sub-sectors. In the cattle industry, the aim is to lift the productivity of the Northern Territory herd. For horticulture, the goal is to double the area developed, working with existing and new farmers. The strategy also targets achieving 100,000 hectares of broadacre cropping, doubling the number of aquaculture businesses, and increasing the Gross Value of Production for fisheries and aquaculture by 50%.

To achieve these targets, the strategy emphasizes the importance of leveraging innovation, technology, and value-addition to drive productivity. This includes supporting the development of integrated sustainable cropping systems, intensifying development on cleared land through new technologies, and exploring economically viable value-adding and manufacturing opportunities.

Addressing challenges and mitigating risks is another key focus of the Agribusiness 2030 Strategy. Biosecurity is a significant concern, and the strategy outlines various measures to strengthen surveillance, response capabilities, and partnerships. This includes completing upgrades to the Berrimah Farm Science Precinct, increasing biosecurity resourcing and capacity building, and collaborating with the Commonwealth to expand the biosecurity capacity of the Aboriginal Ranger network.

Climate change poses another significant challenge for the agribusiness sector. The strategy emphasizes the need to adapt to changing conditions and embrace sustainable practices. This involves supporting farmers in becoming more efficient water users, researching carbon storage opportunities in agriculture, and developing market opportunities for agriculture waste products to improve carbon footprint and profitability.

Infrastructure development is crucial for unlocking the sector’s growth potential. The strategy calls for continued bituminization of important agribusiness roads, assessing the viability of developing new communities to service agricultural regions, and supporting the development of consolidated, evidence-based supply-chain infrastructure.

The success of the Agribusiness 2030 Strategy hinges on a collaborative approach and effective implementation. The strategy was co-designed with industry stakeholders and Indigenous communities to ensure broad ownership and commitment. A Steering Committee will be established to prioritize and oversee the implementation of the outlined actions, ensuring a coordinated effort towards achieving the strategy’s goals.

To keep stakeholders informed and motivated, the Northern Territory Government will provide annual reporting on progress against the targets set forth in the strategy. This transparency will allow for adjustments and refinements along the way, ensuring that the strategy remains a living, breathing document that evolves with the changing development landscape.

The Agribusiness 2030 Strategy has the potential to transform the Northern Territory’s agribusiness sector, driving sustainable growth and creating new opportunities for communities across the region. By focusing on engagement, protection, innovation, and growth, the strategy provides a comprehensive roadmap for the sector’s development over the next decade.

However, the success of the strategy will depend on the collective efforts of all stakeholders – government, industry, Indigenous communities, and the broader public. It will require sustained investment, collaboration, and a willingness to embrace change and innovation.

If implemented effectively, the Agribusiness 2030 Strategy could position the Northern Territory as a leader in sustainable agribusiness, contributing significantly to the region’s economic growth and creating vibrant, healthy, and prosperous communities. It is an ambitious plan, but one that holds immense promise for the future of the Northern Territory and its people.

As the strategy moves into the implementation phase, it will be crucial to maintain the momentum and commitment that has brought it to this point. Regular communication, celebration of successes, and adaptive management will be key to navigating the challenges and seizing the opportunities that lie ahead.

Supporting ambitious agribusiness strategy

The Agribusiness 2030 Strategy is more than just a plan for the agribusiness sector – it is a vision for the future of the Northern Territory. By working together towards this shared vision, the Territory can unlock the full potential of its natural resources, its people, and its unique position in the global marketplace. The journey ahead may not be easy, but with the Agribusiness 2030 Strategy as a guiding light, the destination is well worth the effort.

At Farrelly Mitchell, we diligently support the design and implementation of exciting and ambitious new agribusiness strategy. Our expert agribusiness consultants offer key insights and actionable recommendations to take your plans to the next level, ensuring that your processes are at peak optimisation and efficiency. Our consultants offer a wide range of commercial supports, including agribusiness strategy consulting, due diligence, risk analysis & management, business planning, and much more.

Author

Nathan Davies

Managing Director
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