Despite well-documented difficulties such as the lack of seasonal farm workers due to pandemic-related border closures, the gross value of agricultural production is forecast to rise by 7% to $65-billion in 2020-21.
The figure represents a record in nominal terms and is underpinned by record crop production and strong saleyard prices, the Federal government says.
An outstanding result in tough times
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said it was testament to the resilience of farmers, better seasonal conditions and key support measures applied by the government.
“Growth is driven by drought recovery with Australia’s second-largest winter crop, the best ever in NSW, a favourable outlook for summer cropping and high livestock prices,” Littleproud said.
“This is an outstanding result for the farming sector that has helped stay on an even keel despite all the challenges 2020 has thrown at us.
Importance of the agriculture sector
“Australians should be justly proud of what the farming has achieved this year. Now more than ever we know the importance of the agriculture sector to our economy,” the minister stated.
He said that from early on in the pandemic the government had recognised the importance of the agricultural sector and worked to ensure that Covid-safe plans were in place, supply chains remained open and that the agricultural workforce could be secured as far as possible.
“The latest Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (Abares) forecast is a testament to the effectiveness of those actions and the resilience of our farming sector,” Littleproud said.
Agriculture leads economic recovery
“As we and the global economy recovers from Covid-19, it will be agriculture once again leading the way.”
He warned that trade tensions and the agricultural workforce would present challenges to the nation’s farming sector.
“I am particularly concerned at the potential impacts of China’s decisions to impose anti-dumping and countervailing duties on barley and the recent impost of provisional anti-dumping duties on Australian wine. But I am buoyed by this latest forecast,” the minister said.