National Farmers' Federation

Peak farm body challenges industry to be ‘more ambitious’

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed confirmation that agriculture’s good fortunes are set to continue in 2017-2018 with the industry on track to record $59 billion in farm production.
Down from the 2016-2017 production haul of $63 billion, the agriculture sector continues to benefit from increased global demand for natural fibres, red meat and horticulture products. Farm exports are predicted to reach $47 billion in 2017-2018.
A reduced national winter crop is mainly to blame for the overall five per cent decline in gross value farm production.
The figures were released today in Canberra at the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) Outlook conference.
The forecast paints a positive picture out to at least 2022-2023 for agriculture with production that year tipped to tally $63 billion and farm exports $50 billion.
NFF President Fiona Simson said while the forecast growth was welcomed she challenged the industry to be more ambitious.
“The NFF has a vision for agriculture to be a $100 billion by 2030.
“This bold but entirely achievable target is, we’re pleased to say, also supported by our Agriculture and Water Resources Minister, Hon David Littleproud MP.”
Ms Simson said an almost doubling of agriculture’s production value would be no mean feat.
“We won’t achieve it by retaining the status quo or taking a ‘business as usual’ approach.
“It will take an across industry, public-private, multi-disciplined effort to make the step change in productivity needed to hit the $100 billion mark.”
Ms Simson said for agriculture to reach its potential, improvements and innovations across the supply chain were required.
“On farm, the adoption and application of ag technology such as artificial intelligence, big data, automation and remote sensory represent big opportunities.
“Fit for purpose infrastructure is crucial, including digital connectivity, roads, rail and ports as are the correct workforce, business and energy policy settings.
Ms Simson said the Government’s commitment to pursuing preferential trade agreements could largely be credited for the positive position agriculture finds itself in today.
“Getting the best deal for our farmers on the world stage will continue to play a defining role in our sector’s success into the future.”
The Liverpool Plains farmer said additional capital was also a must.
“Between now and 2025, the farm business collective faces the prospect of a $110 billion shortfall in required capital.
“We need to think outside the square as to where this shortfall in capital might be sourced. We can’t afford to shut our minds to any options.”

Add comment