KPMG Australia has been named one of the Lead Partners of the newly formed Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), which has raised over $160 million in cash and in-kind commitments from partners to fast-track the growth of Australia’s food industry through digital technologies. In addition, the Food Agility CRC was today announced as the recipient of $50 million of Federal Government funding through the Cooperative Research Centre Program.
“We believe the Food Agility CRC is at the core of innovation for the industry, and are very excited to be playing an active role,” said Ian Hancock, Head of Management Consulting at KPMG Australia. “Today’s Federal Government funding announcement is a strong signal that food is a major manufacturing sector of the future, and that there is commitment to global advancement through a digital technology path.”
The bid consortium is led by the Knowledge Economy Institute at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), together with QUT and Curtin University.
KPMG’s collaboration with the Food Agility CRC aligns with the firm’s investment in building capabilities around the Internet of Things (IoT) and AgTech sector. Both are new practices of the firm, launched this financial year.
Piers Hogarth-Scott, KPMG’s National IoT Practice Leader said, “Smart food and fibre is a key focus sector of our Internet of Things practice. Our investment in the Food Agility CRC supports our strategy of helping clients unlock the substantial economic, environmental and social challenges facing the industry in Australia.”
Ben van Delden, Head of KPMG’s AgTech practice, described the launch of the Food Agility CRC as groundbreaking. “I’ve recently returned from the Australian Agri-Food Trade Mission to Israel. One of the highlights for me was seeing unprecedented ‘collaboration in action’ between farmers, universities, industries and government.”
“Australia can learn from this and it seems we are now on this path with the Food Agility CRC’s collaboration model bridging the gap between stakeholders,” said Ben.
The Food Agility CRC’s innovation programs will seek to deploy real-time big data market intelligence and predictive analytics to help farmers produce the right products at the right time, and link food producers with consumers in new ways. Plans include the development of more innovative financial products based on producers’ better management of environment risk and uncertainty, using digital technology.
Investment in the food industry could be stimulated by building confidence in data-enabled productivity gains. And the Food Agility CRC will help build a future workforce by leveraging advances in robotics and training teams in agri-economics and digital technology to boost productivity, sustainability and market-led thinking.
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