CQUniversity welcomes government's renewed commitment to agricultural traceability

25 January 2022

As one of the nation's leading agricultural research universities' CQUniversity stands to benefit from a renewed federal government funding commitment to develop agricultural traceability systems.

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia' David Littleproud' attended CQUniversity Mackay this week to announce more than $68 million in Commonwealth funding to shore up the nation's agricultural traceability systems and increase access to premium overseas markets.

With Associate Vice-President North Queensland Region' Professor Pierre Viljoen in attendance' Minister Littleproud said investing in strong traceability frameworks and systems could add up to $1 billion a year to the bottom line of Australian farmers.

'Australia already has strong traceability systems in place' especially around food safety' origin and biosecurity'' Minister Littleproud said.

'But we can make these systems stronger by bringing them together with a national approach.

'That's why we're working with the states and territories and industry to create the National Agricultural Traceability Alliance and National Agricultural Traceability Hub.

'It will bring industry groups' research bodies' state and territory bodies and governments and together. We're organising a National Traceability Summit so we can all share our ideas and map out how we can work to make the most of this multi-million dollar investment.

'The hub will be a way for government and industry groups to work together to create successful traceability projects that will deliver financial benefits to our farmers.'

Professor Viljoen welcomed the news' emphasising that CQUniversity was already a research leader in the traceability space.

'It's an exciting time to be involved in agricultural traceabilty. I thank the government for its ongoing commitment to this field and look forward to the establishment of the Hub and the forthcoming Summit'' Professor Viljoen said.

CQUniversity has been innovating in agricultural traceability for many years' particularly in the area of sensor technology for livestock management.

In 2021' Minister Littleproud announced a $201'000 grant for CQUniversity researchers to investigate the use of livestock sensors and smart tag technology.

'This research aims to investigate the link between on-farm animal management and the meat quality results obtained at the processing plant'' Professor Viljoen said.

'CQUniversity is working hand-in-hand with industry to develop these solutions' and our partners include Teys Australia's Biloela processing plant and Smart Paddock sensors.'

CQUniversity's smart tag technology not only measures the location of an animal at any given time' but also its movements and behaviour. For example' if an animal is not grazing properly' an alert can be sent to the producer to intervene.

'Traceability systems will continue to show consumers that our products are safe' clean and meet sustainability standards'' Minister Littleproud continued.

'Customers have shown they are willing to pay more for a product that can meet provenance and sustainability standards so our farmers will get a better price for their product.

'On the other side of the coin' by using the latest technology and data we are helping our farmers reduce their costs of production.'

As part of the funding' the Government will:

  • Establish a coalition of stakeholders across government and industry' the National Agricultural Traceability Alliance' to foster national leadership on traceability initiatives;
  • Hold a National Traceability Summit to share ideas' get on the same page and establish platforms for sharing experiences;
  • Create a National Agricultural Traceability Hub to deliver a traceability capability' agree to common data standards and harness the power technologies such as blockchain in order to demonstrate the provenance of Australia's agricultural exports while reducing compliance burdens;
  • Provide grants to encourage innovation in traceability against the roadmap' to generate value and promote them across cross all our primary industries.
'We know we produce some of the best produce in the world. By enhancing traceability and transparency at every step in the supply chain' we can make sure the rest of the world knows this as well'' Minister Littleproud said.