GRDC looks to double the grains industry’s current $15 billion value by 2030
Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) managing director Anthony Williams has in his sights a goal to double the grains industry’s current $15 billion value by 2030.
Mr Williams believes taking advantage of an increasing world population and understanding and strategically targeting export opportunities will play a major role in this growth.
But he also understands the importance of grain growers, agronomists and researchers maintaining a focus on step-change improvements in yield and returns, through areas such as reduced farm input costs, improved agronomic practices and better crop varieties, to drive the enduring profitability of the industry.
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In short, Mr Williams is an advocate of the grains industry “doing what it’s doing, but better”.
However, longer term he believes the opportunities for the sector will be centred on feeding a hungry world with an increased demand for protein, as well as the strategic positioning of Australian grains into differentiated market sectors.
The GRDC is responsible for planning, investing in and overseeing research, development and extension (RD&E) for grains with the purpose of creating enduring profitability for Australian grain growers.
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Investments span a broad range of RD&E projects to deliver new and improved varieties, farming practices, technologies and capability to the grains industry. These investments drive the discovery, development and delivery of world-class innovation.
While the GRDC has a proven track record in investing in RD&E that delivers impact on-farm—and Mr Williams is committed to seeing that work continue, he also believes there are key mid to longer term investment opportunities in areas such as:
- Identifying and analysing supply and demand trends to put Australian grain growers in the best position to take advantage of domestic and global markets;
- Understanding consumers’ growing interest in food provenance and how the grains industry can offer that sustainability and traceability of products in a commercially viable way;
- Identifying how to access attractive export markets and differentiate grains products to ensure they are ‘needed’;
- Exploring how to improve logistics, grain handling, aggregation, and identifying competitive routes for differentiated products cost-effectively;
- Focusing on ‘digital ag’ and innovative technology that can change the way growers operate on-farm as well as improve grain marketing beyond the farm gate.
“I have come from a strong commercial background so I tend to look at all investments in a ‘whole of value chain’ way – from improvements in crop varieties to better agronomic practices, to getting market signals and understanding how growers can use that information to plan their businesses,” Mr Williams said.
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“Critically, when looking at the whole of value chain system, it is also our role to constantly ask: ‘how do we get grain growers their share of the price?’”
Mr Williams said while a broad perspective was important, it was also valuable to understand that current and ongoing investments could also potentially give Australian grain growers a strategic advantage in a changing climate.
He said the corporation had already invested in major research focused on adapting grain varieties and agronomic practices to increasingly hot and dry conditions, which may give Australian growers the edge over some of their global competitors.
“What is a growing world population going to eat, and how are they going to access it? They are two key questions we will consider, as well as asking are these challenges magnified by climate change?
“A different perspective of these risks is looking at how these challenges affect not only Australia, but also other production areas around the world,” Mr Williams said.
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“We have already made significant research investments in managing for climate variation, so can we leverage this knowledge, and the production process we have in place, to give our industry an edge over our competitors globally?”
Mr Williams said the GRDC would continue to invest with research partners in RD&E that maintained business performance for growers, with an emphasis on “critical success factors” measuring the tangible impact, adoption and return on investment.
GRDC, on behalf our growers, will be looking at the industry from a domestic and international marketplace perspective and examining what we can do differently that will help drive value gains in the longer-term.
“Targeting a doubling of grains value by 2030 is aspirational,” said Mr Williams. “It is designed to make us think differently about the investments in RD&E we make for this season, and the next, and the decade to follow.
“When we make better investment decisions, we can create more even more value for growers.”
More information about GRDC’s RD&E investment strategy and portfolio is available here. The corporation’s Business Development and Commercialisation team helps facilitate co-investment from public and commercial partners that bring new ideas, expertise and/or make financial contributions to investments that are beneficial to the Australian grains industry.
The GRDC Business Development team also undertakes a number of activities in the Agtech Innovation and Crop Improvement programs, as well as strategic investments generally with larger partnership with an international or private sector focus.
For Individuals and companies building a technology-enabled early stage business with application to Australian grain growers or equity investors interested in exploring co-investment opportunities relevant to the Grain Innovate Fund contact the growAG. team.
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