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    CLOSE EYE: An alpaca keeps an eye on proceedings at a Viterra grain bunker. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

AgLife: Production tipped to hit $65-billion

Forecasts predict the gross value of Australian agricultural production to rise by seven percent to $65-billion in 2020-21.

But Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences figures in a December-quarter agricultural overview showed the value of exports was still predicted to fall by seven percent year-on-year to $44.7-billion.

The bureau summarised circumstances by explaining the forecast downturn in exports in a year of strong domestic production growth was due both to differences in what was exported against what was produced, combined with the impact of drought on the livestock sector. 

It went on to say that in most years of the past three decades, the cropping sector, including horticulture, contributed far more to the value of domestic agricultural production than the livestock sector.

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However, both sectors generally contributed equally to exports because most horticultural products – worth more than $12-billion annually – were consumed in Australia.

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud celebrated the strong positive message generated by the rise in value of overall 2020-21 agricultural production.

He said the rise was testament to the resilience of farmers, better seasonal conditions and key support measures applied by the Federal Government.

“Growth is driven by drought recovery with Australia’s second largest winter crop, a favourable outlook for summer cropping and high livestock prices,” he 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.

“Australians should be justly proud of the farming achieved this year. Now more than ever we know the importance of the agriculture sector to our economy.”

Mr Littleproud said the Federal Government, from the first day of the COVID-19 pandemic, recognised that agriculture was an essential industry and worked to ensure COVID-safe plans were in place, supply chains remained open and moved to help secure the agriculture workforce.

“This latest ABARES forecast is a testament to the effectiveness of those actions and the resilience of our farming sector,” he said.

“As we and the global economy recover from COVID-19, it will be agriculture again leading the way.” 

Mr Littleproud said trade tensions and issues surrounding agriculture workforces would  present challenges to the 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,” he said.

“But I am buoyed by this latest forecast. In October I laid out the government’s Ag2030 Strategy to support the industry target of $100-billion and I am committed to supporting Australian agriculture to reach its full potential.”

The entire December 23, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire December 23, 2020 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!