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Going Dutch could drive future of Australia's agri-food sector

Going Dutch could drive future of agri-food sector

The culture of collaboration that has propelled the Netherlands to become the undisputed pound-for-pound global champion of food exports can and should serve as inspiration for Australia’s agri-food sector, according to a new KPMG Australia and AgFunder report launched today.

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The culture of collaboration that has propelled the Netherlands to become the undisputed pound-for-pound global champion of food exports can and should serve as inspiration for Australia’s agri-food sector, according to a new KPMG Australia and AgFunder report launched today.

Going Dutch – Opportunities for the Australian Agri-food Sector distills insights gathered in the Netherlands by those who attended the Agri Food Traction Tour – calibrated by KPMG, AgFunder, and the Netherlands Embassy.

The new report finds that innovative technology, collaboration, and a values-driven ecosystem form the competitive pillars of the Dutch agri-food powerhouse, which remarkably manages to produce 810 times more export earnings per hectare, and nearly three times more agri-food export earnings than Australia.

Top recommendations from the report include:

  • Australia needs to move to a technology focus, not a product focus for its agri-industry. The sheer investment into leading edge technology development is what sets the Netherlands apart.
  • More needs to be done to foster collaboration between academics and entrepreneurs. The Dutch actively cluster complementary businesses and institutions, with companies such as Unilever and FrieslandCampina building corporate innovation centres at leading agricultural research institution, Wageningen University & Research.
  • The quality and diversity of Australia’s emerging talent is a core strength, but we must focus on how to better network tomorrow’s startup and tech leaders and encourage them to engage with, and challenge our agri-food producers to create new value through technology.

Ben van Delden, KPMG Australia Partner and Agtech Sector Leader believes the new report should serve as inspiration, and not intimidation.

“There are no core secrets to unlocking success. It’s just a matter of the right people connecting in the right spirit, and the government getting behind the entrepreneurial businesses that are willing to take a lead,” he said.

“The question now for Australia’s agri-food industry is what changes we need to create an industry that is just as focused on creating value from intellectual property and technology as it is on producing commodities? Of the many lessons we can take from the Dutch, the most useful and relevant is the power of collaboration. Whether it's co-investing in geothermal wells to heat greenhouses, creating food processing and logistics precincts, or industry-led investment in research facilities - there is a default mindset of partnering to do things faster and with greater scale.”

"The only thing preventing Australia from taking a seat alongside the global leaders in agri-food exports is our mindset when it comes to collaboration and taking risk together. When we asked the Dutch what Australia needed to do to replicate Dutch collaboration, the advice was simple: just do it.”

For further information

Kristin Silva
0411 110 953
ksilva@kpmg.com.au

Ash Pritchard
0411 020680
apritchard2@kpmg.com.au

About KPMG International

KPMG is a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 154 countries and have 200,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

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