Biobased products – opportunities for Australian agricultural industries

  • 28 pages

  • Published: 19 Nov 2007

  • Author(s): Haritos, Victoria

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Australian farmers face relentless pressure to innovate. De-Declining terms of trade, increasing international competition, water reform, distorted markets and climate change are a challenging cocktail. In response, we need to increase productivity and to identify and exploit opportunities to diversify and differentiate. Internationally there is increasing interest in the use of re-newable biomass feedstocks for the production of industrial chemicals and materials. This trend is due to the increasing costs and decreasing supplies of crude oil, and the contribution to greenhouse gas emissions from both high energy man-ufacturing requirements and feedstocks. Industrial products can be produced from renewable, biological sources (biobased products) and there are many incentives for their use. Bio-based products can have lower environmental impacts and higher degradability than petroleum-derived products, and can deliver higher returns for rural industries. Australia is well positioned to grow and develop biobased products from agriculture. We have an advanced agricultural sector with a high proportion of innovative and early adopting farmers and downstream processing capacity. Across the coun-try we grow a diversity of crops in several growing seasons which increases the opportunities for plant-derived biobased production. Furthermore, in Australia we have a strong record in rural research and development, and a sound regulatory infrastructure to underpin advances in crop biotechnology.