An argument for agricultural research
Extending agricultural productivity is an important catalyst of broader economic growth. The benefits of investment in agricultural research can be substantial, as demonstrated by growth in Australian agriculture over the past four decades. Multifactor productivity growth (growth in output relative to the combined contributions of inputs) in Australian agriculture between 1974–75 and 2003–04 averaged 2.8% a year.
Productivity growth has accounted for the entire increase in output by the agricultural sector over the last thirty years and has produced sizeable benefits–an estimated productivity dividend of just over $170 billion (page 115 of 'Trends in Agriculture' Productivity Commission Research Paper 2005).