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Sowing the Seeds of the Future

Bananas that can help save lives? Tick. Technology that improves crop productivity and environmental stability? Tick. Australia is leading the way in the food and agribusiness sector, attracting large international conferences eager to tap into our knowledge and expertise.


With so much arable land, it’s no wonder Australia excels in agriculture and food production. And it stays at the forefront in the fast-changing agribusiness sector thanks to its diverse growing conditions; world-renowned, safe, sustainable and healthy food management; effective regulation; major investment in research and development; and strong links between industry, research institutions and government.

It’s one of the reasons why the International Seed Federation (ISF) – a non-government, non-profit organisation – chose to host its World Seed Congress in Brisbane in 2018. This annual conference is the ISF’s flagship event, bringing together more than 1,500 decision makers from 70 nations to discuss issues facing the global seed industry. The Australian Seed Federation worked closely with the Brisbane Convention Bureau and the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre to bring the event to Brisbane.

Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, QLD

According to the ISF, the motivations for the ISF Executive Committee and Board of Directors selecting Australia for the congress include the country’s outstanding facilities and reputation in the sector. The final decision was taken by vote during General Assembly at the 2012 ISF World Seed Congress 2012.

Alysha Lockley, Business Services Manager for the Australian Seed Federation, said: “Australia’s agricultural scientists rank among the best in the world, and many corporate global centres of excellence in food processing are located here. It was Australia’s long-term commitment in this area that was a consideration by the ISF when assessing bids, along with Brisbane’s world-class Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, accommodation within walking distance of the venue and Australia’s range of post-conference touring options – this expertise is important to our delegates.”

Agricultural expertise

Australia’s agricultural sector harvests a healthy surplus – enough to feed the country’s population three times over. In addition, Australia exports more than half of its agricultural produce.

Innovation in biotechnology and cutting-edge farming techniques have also put Australia at the forefront of functional foods, nanotechnology, processing technologies and ‘smart’ logistics. Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) ranks in the top 1 per cent of global research institutions in 14 of 22 fields.

It is Australia’s excellence in the agribusiness sector as well as its track record for delivering exceptional business events that has seen the country attract major international business events, including the International Congress on Engineering and Food, which will be held in Melbourne in 2019, and the International Rapeseed Congress, which will be held in Sydney in 2023.

Brisbane and Cairns

Queensland is Australia’s largest beef producer, and more than 80 per cent of its land is used for agricultural production. Far North Queensland is also a world leader in tropical and subtropical agriculture. Take, for example, Professor James Dale from Brisbane’s Queensland University of Technology. He has pioneered a genetically modified banana – enriched with vitamin A – that has the potential to dramatically reduce infant mortality in Africa. The Australian Tropical Forest Institute, co-located with James Cook University in Cairns, houses the Australian Tropical Herbarium – a collection of more than 170,000 plant specimens.

d’Arenberg Winery, McLaren Vale, SA


It’s no secret that South Australia is recognised internationally for its premium wine, accounting for 62 per cent of Australia’s exports, but it’s also known for its production of wheat, barley, livestock, poultry and seafood. Adelaide’s Waite Research Institute is Australia’s leading research, education and commercialisation precinct for agricultural science. The Goyder Institute for Water Research, a global leader in scientific water planning and policy, is also based here.

South Australia was the birthplace of the almond industry in Australia, which is now the second-largest almond-producing nation in the world – just one of the reasons why the International Symposium on Almonds and Pistachios has selected Adelaide to host its conference in 2017.


Western Australia is the nation’s largest grain-producing region, and a significant producer of meat and livestock, dairy, wool, seafood, pearls, horticulture and honey products. It’s home to the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre, the University of Western Australia Institute of Agriculture and Curtin University’s International Institute of Agri-Food Security.


Tasmania is acclaimed for a wide range of agricultural products, from poppies and superfine wool to aquaculture. It is the world’s largest supplier of wild abalone, and harvests more than 4 million oysters each year. Tasmania’s Sense-T project, a partnership between the University of Tasmania, the CSIRO and the Tasmanian Government, uses data from a network of in-ground sensors on Tasmanian farms to improve crop efficiency, productivity and environmental sustainability. Tasmania’s excellence in agribusiness is one of the reasons why the 22nd International Farm Management Association Congress will be held in Hobart in 2019.