A PDF version of the publication is available for download here

The challenges associated with accelerating agricultural productivity in Australia

The situation that the Australian agriculture sector faces at the moment is a bit like the position of a shopkeeper who owns a small corner store, and who suddenly finds a major new high-rise residential development with thousands of potential customers is being built all around the shop. The shopkeeper can’t expand the shelf space or the size of the shop, so despite the potential extra customers, needs to think about how to maximise the profits available from the existing store.

Australian agriculture faces a similar dilemma with the size of it’s 'shop'. The area of arable land cropped each year has been relatively static over the last decade at around 25 million hectares. The amount of irrigation water used each year by agriculture peaked at 10.4 million megalitres in 2002–03 and has declined by more than 15% since that time. (more)

The funding models available to Australian farmers and agribusinesses have remained largely the same for the last 100 years. Essentially, farmers use their accumulated capital (principally land) as security to obtain finance from banks to meet the funding requirements of their businesses. However, reliance on this traditional funding model may no longer be adequate. (more)

Also, AFI's mid-year conference ‘Funding Agriculture's Future’, 3 & 4 June, Hotel Realm, Canberra.

Institute research currently underway provides some insights into the changing patterns of Australia’s agricultural trade, highlighting that while Australia’s export market share has grown for some commodities over the past 50 years, the market share enjoyed by other commodities has decreased. (more)

For this edition Jackie Healing, from Coles, and Dr Sharman Stone, the Federal Member for Murray, discuss Australia’s current food labelling laws and whether they are misleading consumers about country of origin. (more)

In this edition: Should Australian wool growers have a word with Thai rice farmers? Canada phases out sow stalls (eight years after Australia) and the ACT bans factory farms, despite not having any! (more)

Recent media suggests that Australian farmers are on average much older than workers in other sectors and will be looking to retire soon. The major problem with this analysis is that by comparing the age of farmers with the average age of all other workers, a very distorted picture emerges of farmers. (more)

The Institute released its latest research, Opportunities to improve the effectiveness of Australian farmers’ advocacy groups – a comparative approach, at a seminar in Canberra on 3 March 2014. The report’s release garnered a great deal of media coverage, including reports in The Land, Southern Weekly, Bush Telegraph – ABC Radio National and ABC Rural. (more)

Keep up-to-date with AFI in the media at the Institute Newsroom.

Images:  ACIL Tasman, Australian Pork Limited, AWB, Hayley Becker, CIMMYT, CSIRO, Dairy Australia, Deniliquin Newspapers, Dirk Heine, European Union, Feral Arts, GrainCorp Limited, Hosking Industries, Martin Howard, IRRI, Stefano Lubiano, ipostcodes, Mick Keogh, USDA, Wool is best

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