The Australian Bureau of Agricultural Economics and Sciences and Resources (ABARES) said Australia’s agricultural industry will need to make tough, long-term decisions to boost productivity and exports.
Speaking at the ABARES outlook conference in Canberra on March 3, Steve Hatfield-Dodds, executive director of ABARES, said that while Australian agriculture has seen good development, the industry needs to take steps. measures to ensure its success in the future.
Hatfield-Dodds listed several steps that would be vital to achieving the National Farmer Federation’s goal of increasing the value of Australian agricultural production to A $ 100 billion (US $ 65 billion) over the next decade, including including the continued trend towards larger farms, as well as improvements in data mining and management of valuable natural resources.
“Agricultural consolidation helps disseminate better management practices, and many technologies and capital goods have economies of scale,” Hatfield-Dodds said.
As farmers were already adjusting to drier conditions over the past two decades that impacted farm profits, Hatfield-Dodds said other challenges lay ahead.
“Switching from old ways of using water to new ones can be disruptive. But it’s also what puts food on the table and keeps the industry profitable, ”Hatfield-Dodds said.
“Recent perennial plantings, especially almond trees, will help increase the value of Australian agriculture. It is important. These same almonds will also need more water as they mature.
“This factor and others will see a continuing trend towards higher average prices – benefiting rights holders but adding to pressures on certain farms and sectors.”
In an increasingly connected and competitive world, Hatfield-Dodds said the producers and exporters of tomorrow must continue to focus on understanding consumers’ wants and needs, including being prepared to justify food claims. clean, healthy and sustainable.
In the future, farmers could also receive remuneration for providing conservation and ecosystem services alongside existing agricultural production, which could significantly increase the income of landowners.
“I think the stars might align to make this practical on a large scale, offering a new source of income for farmers and a range of public benefits for the community at large,” Hatfield-Dodds said.
“The future will not be like the past. We will have to anticipate, innovate and collaborate to stay one step ahead. ”