The term ‘agribusiness’ was coined in 1957 by Harvard Business Schools Davis and Goldberry as a result of a research program investigating agricultural and industrial relationships.
In the Northern Rivers, agribusiness is a major driver of our local economy. The sub-tropic climate and rich soils of our region provide ideal conditions for a broad variety of agriculture.
Well established agricultural industries in the region include beef, sugar cane, bananas, vegetables and dairy. More recently blueberries and macadamias have been our fastest growing industries. Increasing demand from Asia and other international markets has seen rapid growth for these products. The industry has responded to this by investing in research and development for more resilient and higher yielding varieties.
The Macadamia Processing Company (MPC) was founded as a cooperative in 1983 by a few macadamia growers near Lismore who decided to take control of the production and marketing of their own produce. They now have over 160 grower shareholders in North New South Wales and South Eastern Queensland. The company processed just over 50 tonnes of nut-in-shell in its first year, earning just over $100,000. Thirty years later MPC has grown to become the largest and most successful macadamia processor in the world. It has its own land and custom-built factory at Alphadale near Lismore, built in 1986 and continually upgraded ever since. The factory currently processes around 10-13,000 tonnes of nut-in-shell per annum, and turns over approximately $80 million a year (depending on the crop size, prices, exchange rate etc). They employ 33 permanent staff, which increases to around 170 during processing season.
A key focus of investment within agribusiness is in research and development, and the adoption of new technologies. This includes researching new, higher yielding and disease resistant varieties of plant stock. Agribusiness has also introduced digital technologies to improve internal systems, reduce costs, improve information and manage the flow of products.
In relation to new agribusiness, the Northern Rivers provides opportunities for research collaboration with Southern Cross University. The Australian Government has a number of programs to support research and development including the Cooperative Research Centres Program and the R&D Tax Incentive.
New industries currently investing in new technologies in the region include a multi million dollar medicinal cannabis plant that will potentially generate up to $1 billion in revenue and create 300 new jobs in the region. This facility will utilise state of the art Ag-technology, with ongoing research and development a key focus of the plant.
If you are considering investing in agribusiness in the Northern Rivers contact RDA Northern Rivers.