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AUSTRALIA’S agricultural technology industry has received a boost in 2018 with a surge in research spending.

Photo: Alex Ellinghausen, AAPThe Federal Government’s Agricultural Technology and Innovation Agency (ATIA) reported $1.4 billion in research and development spending for the year, compared to $1 billion for the same period last year.

That is a 25 per cent increase from the $839 million spent last year, which included $400 million in research funding.

The ATIA’s 2017-18 budget of $1,734 million covered all agricultural technology projects in the Federal Government.

The budget also included $2.7 billion in funding for seed and biotechnology technology, $1 million for the Australian National University, $300 million for research and innovation for the Victorian Department of Agriculture, $500 million for technology assistance and $150 million for an Australian Rural Technology Fund.

Agriculture Secretary, Greg Hunt, said the 2018 budget reflected the growing importance of agricultural research.

“Agriculture is an exciting sector in Australia’s economy, with the potential to transform our agriculture system, increase productivity and enhance the quality of our food,” he said.

Federal government funding for research has remained stable, but there has been a 15 per cent decrease in federal funding to universities in recent years. “

The Government is committed to supporting the sector with the necessary infrastructure and research, and is looking to support further innovation.”

Federal government funding for research has remained stable, but there has been a 15 per cent decrease in federal funding to universities in recent years.

The amount of research spent on agriculture and agri-food is expected to continue to rise in the next financial year.

Mr Hunt said he was pleased the ATIA has been able to deliver the funds required to deliver innovation and productivity, which will allow Australia to achieve its 2050 target for agricultural productivity.