The federal government has unveiled its Digital Foundations for Agriculture Strategy ahead of the upcoming election.
Headlining the strategy is the government's $30 million commitment to set up a National Centre for Digital Agriculture.
This funding will also be used to support eight existing regional Innovation Hubs to increase the uptake of digital technology.
A further $400,000 will be invested in expanding the National Farmers' Federation's Australian Farm Data Code initiative.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the strategy delivers on the government's commitment to develop and support the uptake of technology that will drive the growth of the sector.
"This new National Centre will provide national leadership and co-ordination to overcome the barriers to taking up new technology on-farm and through the supply chain and working closely with key industry players including organisations such as the Australian Agritech Association," Mr Littleproud said.
"Working alongside the Innovation Hubs, the National Centre will drive a cohesive uplift in skills, education, awareness, and ultimately adoption, of digital agriculture."
If elected, Labor has stated it will support this funding commitment.
Opposition agriculture spokeswoman Julie Collins said the party had been saying for a long time that there were more opportunities for Australian farmers through digital innovation.
"Labor believes government can be a supportive partner with Australian farmers to achieve this innovation," Ms Collins said.
Agtech products were estimated to be worth $500 billion globally in mid-2021.
It is estimated digital innovation could deliver $315b in gross economic value of the next decade in Australia.
When researching its strategy, the government identified a number of key themes that need to be addressed to overcome some of the barriers to adoption.
Among these were the need for good connectivity, national coordination and collaboration, data frameworks and a code of conduct, and that farmers were lacking 'translators' of agtech.
As a result, five focus areas have been established outlining how the government's vision for digital agricultural innovation will be achieved.
These focus areas are:
Australian Agritech Association CEO Tracey Martin said the new digital strategy was a good start from the government.
However, the association is calling for a national strategy that spans all agrifood tech and includes a cross-departmental approach.
Ms Martin said the association was very optimistic about what was possible in Australia if alignment between government initiatives and the private sector could be achieved.
"We hope this leads to greater consideration of how the private sector agrifood tech community can collaborate with the numerous government led initiatives for mutually rewarding outcomes," Ms Martin said.
"For AusAgritech, success means better results with farmers via higher adoption and the integration of technology developed, implemented, and serviced by our members."
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