Farmgate output of $100 billion by 2030 is in farmers’ sights, with today’s forecast for this year to be the sector’s best on record.
The Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics and Science forecasts farm production to tally $65.9 billion in 2020-2021, driven by strong commodity prices and improved seasonal conditions.
“The past three to five years have been incredibly tough for many farmers with unprecedented drought, floods and bushfires,” NFF Chief Executive Tony Mahar said.
“Today’s forecast demonstrates that, despite such challenges, Australian farmers are an economic powerhouse and their success will be key to our nation’s economic recovery.”
Mr Mahar said the NFF-led target for a $100 billion agriculture sector by 2030, was well within reach.
“Agriculture is already on a firm trajectory of growth. With investments, innovations and policy changes this growth can be supercharged.”
Among the changes needed are measures to counter trade disruptions which are forecast to cost $36.9 billion this decade.
“The NFF is calling on government to develop a long-term trade strategy that deepens access to existing markets, diversifies export destinations, improves supply chains and builds domestic value-adding capabilities.
“Biosecurity is also key to maintaining and expanding our export markets. Alarmingly, our current system risks not being up to the job, without adequate investment in its expansion and modernisation. The cost of a single outbreak of disease or pest has been conservatively estimated to exceed $50 billion.”
Mr Mahar said COVID-19 restrictions had exacerbated farm workforce shortages and the NFF eagerly awaited the Government’s National Agriculture Workforce Strategy.
“The NFF also supports agriculture’s continued role in Australia’s reduced emissions-future and the opportunities that represents.
“Today’s figures are a feather in the cap of our farmers. With ongoing commitments from industry and government to growth, the future is bright indeed for Australian agriculture,” Mr Mahar said.