More funding needed to take advantage of Asian opportunities

Ahead of this weekend’s Federal election, WAFarmers is asking the next Federal government to make agricultural research and development a priority to provide industry with the best opportunity to meet the challenges of competing in the Asian region.

WAFarmers President Dale Park said while the funding commitments made by both parties for agricultural research during the campaign were welcome, there was always room to do more in the vitally important sector.

“Injecting funding into agricultural research is essential to support productivity and profitability increases and develop advances in biotechnology – all of which will allow Australian farmers to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the increased demand from growing Asian populations,” Mr Park said.

“It is concerning that in the past decade, spending on agricultural research has declined considerably.

“We note the Coalition has responded to our request for more funding in this area, pledging a $100million boost to Rural Research and Development Corporations.

“The ALP’s reiteration of their $1billion worth of spending on RDCs over the next four years, in its response to the National Farmers’ Federation election priorities, is also welcome – but it is disappointing they have not committed to an increase.”

WAFarmers is calling for the next government to develop a comprehensive plan to ensure world-leading Research, Development and Extension is funded into the future – the fifth and final policy priority ahead of the election.

“These commitments from the major parties are a great starting point, but we would like to see in more detail what the next government’s plan is for R&D and how they plan to fund it in the years to come,” Mr Park said.

“We look forward to working with the future Federal government on such a plan.”

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