RESEARCHERS say Aussie agriculture needs to shake of its productivity slump to meet Asia's growing need for food.Seven researchers have complied reports into agriculture looking at its goals to remain competitive and feed Asia with most acknowledging the need to embrace new technology, research and ag education in the report Assessing the opportunities for achieving future productivity growth in Australian agriculture.
Charles Sturt University's Adjunct Professor John Mullen wrote in his paper, The Future Productivity and Competitiveness Challenges for Australian Agriculture, an annual growth rate of 2 per cent would result in output doubling between 2012 and 2047.
"It is most concerning that growth in agricultural productivity has certainly slowed since 2000 but perhaps from as far back as 1994. Since 2000 productivity growth has actually been negative," he wrote.
Farm Institute executive director Mick Keogh said investment in skills, capacity building to drive growth would be needed to compete with countries like Brazil which are already capturing large Asian markets.
"Even if Australia returns to past higher levels of research and development investment, that won't be enough to reverse the current stagnation in agricultural productivity growth rates in the short term," he said.
"Researchers and farmers will have to seek out every little productivity opportunity they can find, and combine these to achieve the overall productivity target that economists believe is required in order to retain farm profitability and employment."