Announcement: Warwick Powell joins Future Food Systems CRC Research Advisory Committee

BeefLedger is pleased to announce that our founder and Chairman has been invited to join the Research Advisory Committee of the Future Food Systems Cooperative Research Centre.

As a Member of the Advisory Committee Mr Powell will draw on his diverse knowledge in technology, agricultural systems, regional development and market development to contribute to evaluations of ongoing research priorities.

Post-COVID New Normal

In joining the Advisory Committee, Mr Powell said that the Future Food Systems CRC is well-positioned to contributing to the imagining and design of systems that work for humanity.

“As the world, and our regional economies, adjust to the COVID-19 New Normal, there is no more an important time to get our national research priorities aligned with the needs, challenges and opportunities of the post-COVID era.

“Supply chains have been disrupted, and in export-heavy areas like food systems, there’s an urgent need to bring leading edge sensibilities to the table to drive new frontiers of trade growth and development.

“Regional Australia is at the coalface of Australia’s needs in a post-COVID world.

“Australian agriculture contributed 14% to national exports of goods and services in 2016-17. Around 2/3 of all Australian agriculture is exported in value terms. The value of these exports has grown consistently over the last 20 years, with meat and livestock exports being the fastest export segment, growing 79% in value in this period.

Drawing on the reservoirs of innovation and resilience of regional communities will be a core challenge for research projects

“Our experience in BeefLedger is something I hope to draw upon to contribute to thinking in other areas of food systems development.

“Because Australian primary producers tend to export a higher proportion of their production than traditional competitors, our sustained competitiveness on a global stage is key to the vitality of regional economies and communities. Leading edge technologies and new trans-national business models can open up new frontiers of competitiveness to support regional prosperity and resilience,” said Mr Powell.

Community value can be harnessed and grown with the right kinds of digital empowerments

Empowering Communities

Mr Powell also emphasised the importance of empowering communities to grasp the new opportunities of digital technologies, business models and systems. “It’s not only about productivity enhancing technological interventions, but just as importantly how digital technologies create new pathways to markets and enable new relationships of trust and customer loyalty to be built over distance and over time.

“Fiona Simpson, the Chair of the Future Food Systems CRC, not long ago issued a challenge about re-populating regional communities. Creating and accessing the ‘jobs of the future’ is central to responding to this challenge. Our own experience in our BeefLegends project shows that digital technologies are more than just those interventions that happen ‘behind the farm gate’. Using digital technologies like short video platforms is another dimension of value creation that cannot be ignored,” he said.

“It is the ability to take a whole-of-system approach that will elevate the value of Australian food systems offerings on the global stage,” Mr Powell said.

Social e-commerce platforms, like Liberty Post, are enabling new supply chain models to emerge in China and elsewhere

New Trends

“We need to stay across new trends, nationally and internationally, and in respect of not only production-oriented technologies but also how markets are evolving.

“One of the key areas of change is being driven by the capacity of consumers to achieve a form of ‘virtual aggregation’ to drive new relationships through entire supply chains. The emergence and growth of group buying and community group buying in markets like China is at the global forefront of these trends. Technology is making this happen easily and at incredibly low cost. Australian food producers, manufacturers and brand owners need to get their head around this, as there are many opportunities as a result to build post-commodity relationships based on deepened senses of mutual respect and trust.

“We are also seeing blockchain technology play a central role in how globally determining food markets, like those of China, are shaping the ways in which trade will be done in the future. China is well ahead in their design and implementation of blockchain-based solutions in food supply chains, and our national R&D&C efforts – via institutions like CRCs – can urgently support our ability to join this wave,” Mr Powell said.

Collaborating across national boundaries is critical to unlocking the best creative minds and opportunities for our regions

Research Critical Mass

BeefLedger is a strong believer in Australia’s national research, development and commercialisation institutions like Cooperative Research Centres. “We’re members of the Future Food Systems CRC as well as the Food Agility CRC. We’re also actively involved in a number of bids, which align our passions for technology, food and regional communities.

“There are opportunities to explore not only cross-CRC collaborations, but also reach out across national boundaries to harness the best and brightest from the markets we need to work with the most. Anchored by industry-university collaboration, the ethos of Australia’s CRC ecosystem readily translates into other national systems where universities continue to play leading roles in both pure and applied research,” Mr Powell said.