The pivotal role Northern Australia plays in the country’s future has been in the spotlight of late and will be in sharp focus in Darwin this week at a high level, multi-sector conference to discuss agricultural development in the region.
Agriculture industry leaders, government officials, engaged farmers, Indigenous thought leaders, researchers, and environmentalists are among a wide array of stakeholders convening at the Northern Australia Food Futures Conference 2014 to be held 3 November – 5 November at the Darwin Convention Centre.
The conference will tackle all-encompassing industry issues, including emerging market opportunities, technical and economic based research and development, environmental impacts and management, policies and food security. A highlight of the meeting is a ministerial forum with Agriculture Ministers John McVeigh (Queensland) Kenneth Baston (Western Australia) and Willem Westra Van Holthe (Northern Territory) discussing developments in their particular States, common areas of interest and knowledge sharing opportunities across the north.
Food Futures comes into full swing at a time in which the various Governments are developing their strategic approach to take on Northern Agriculture, with a focus on the markets and economics underpinning emerging Asian markets. The conference intends to lead the debate in enabling effective policy action to maximise the potential of Northern Agriculture and capture commercial opportunities.
The Federal Government’s vision is that by 2030, Northern Australia will drive the country’s economic growth by developing a food bowl – tapping both land and sea-based resources – which could double Australia’s agricultural output and provide the needs of Australia, Asia, and the Tropics. Asia’s increasing affluence has triggered a growing demand for premium quality food.
“As Australia’s ‘front door to Asia’, choosing Darwin as the host city for Food Futures was a good business fit,” said Darwin Convention Centre General Manager Janet Hamilton.
“Likewise, agriculture is a pillar of NT Government policies and Chief Minister Adam Giles is a strong advocate of northern agricultural development, thus completing the strategic alignment,” Ms. Hamilton continued. “We’re honoured to play a part in a conference with an eye to the future prosperity of all Australians, as well as present and future residents of the North, including traditional owners.”