The National Farmers’ Federation has today released an assessment of the sector’s performance 12 months on from the launch of its goal for agriculture to be a $100 billion industry by 2030.
The plan behind the goal, the 2030 Roadmap, has driven a conversation across industry and government about how Australian agriculture can reach $100bn in farm gate output by 2030.
“Our farmers have had another tough year, with severe drought and trade tensions behind a forecast modest decline in agricultural production from about $60b to $59bn in 2019-2020,” NFF President Fiona Simson said.
“However, despite a tough year in the bush, our industry stands committed to long-term, sustainable growth.”
The Report Card will be released today at NFF’s 2030 Leaders’ Summit at Parliament House, Canberra. The event, supported by Telstra, will be attended by 250 of agriculture’s best and brightest and feature keynote presentations from leading Australian and global thinkers.
Ms Simson said the foundations of NFF’s 12-year plan were sound but there was much more work to be done.
“Global demand for our premium food and fibre remains strong however we must continue to work to secure new preferential trade agreements, remove non-tariff barriers and invest in the safeguards that protect our enviable biosecurity status.”
Ms Simson said that it had been a mixed year for environmental outcomes, with significant gains made for sustainability and biodiversity, while climate change, water and waste remained fraught.
“We welcome an acknowledgment by Government that Australian farmers are the best environmentalists, with the investment of $34 million into programs that will reward farmers for the environmental stewardship services they deliver every day.”
“Unfortunately, Australia remains without a national energy policy or national drought policy.
“Australian can go no further without a strategic and sophisticated approach to drought. We value the Government’s engagement with the NFF on the future of drought preparedness, management and recovery and reiterate that drought must be a bi-partisan issue.”
Ms Simson said the area of ‘innovation’, a key driver for increasing sustainable productivity, had progressed well over the past 12 months.
“Our rural research and development corporations are partnering on innovative new approaches to cross-sectoral challenges, which will be crucial for the current review into modernising the levy-based Government-farmer partnership.”
Ms Simson said more needed to be done to solve agriculture’s workforce challenges.
“Farmers continue to face a significant skills and labour shortfalls, this directly impedes our productivity growth potential.
“We also look forward to the results of a number of Government reviews set to determine a strategic and long-term approach to our regional communities.
“Our industry, all must do more to attract and maintain capital with current estimates suggesting a $160m capital shortfall in agriculture.”
The NFF has welcomed the Federal Government’s support for the 2030 Roadmap, and its commitment to develop a complimentary national plan to enable agriculture, fisheries and forestry to reach $100bn by 2030.
“We encourage government to develop an agile plan that can interact across all levels of government, and across the relevant portfolios that intersect agriculture,” Ms Simson said.