One of the key industries to contribute to last week’s strong economic growth figures is holding its annual get-together in Canberra to find better ways of capturing even more opportunities in a fast-changing world.
The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences’s two-day Outlook 2017 conference starts on Tuesday, bringing together experts from the agricultural, forestry and fisheries sectors, as well as economists and parliamentarians.
Its key emphasis this year is on innovation at a time of expanding global markets and diversifying consumer preferences.
It also comes at a time of great uncertainty in the global economy.
Rabobank financial markets research for the Asia Pacific head Michael Every will tell the conference of the volatility of global politics following the election of the United States’ President Donald Trump, although he says markets appear ‘‘strangely serene, for now’’.
‘‘Trump appears intent on rolling back much of the post-World War II global political and financial architecture,’’ Mr Every said.
‘‘At the very least he is strongly opposed to how free trade has been conducted over the past few decades, with China and Mexico in his crosshairs.’’
Deloitte Access Economics economist Chris Richardson will give a ‘‘big picture’’ view of the economy as one of the first speakers at the conference, after last week’s figures showed a 1.1 per cent rebound in economic growth in the final three months of 2016.
The national accounts show production in agriculture, forestry and fishing rose 8.3 per cent in the December quarter, the strongest among all industries and double that of mining in second place at 3.4 per cent.
ABARES will provide its latest commodities forecasts and its economic outlook.
Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, himself a farmer, will deliver a keynote speech to open proceedings.
Assistant Digital Transformation Minister Angus Taylor will look at how more data collection will help farmers and the supply chain more generally in things such as marketing, environmental sustainability and safety. Also how consumers want more information about where their food comes from.
Assistant Agriculture Minister Anne Ruston will open day two with a panel discussion including representatives from the US, India and the OECD looking at agriculture from a global perspective.
There will also be a session on emerging markets, such as export opportunities in goats’ cheese/milk and truffles.
Bureau of Meteorology climate expert Neil Plummer, senior CSIRO agronomist Zvi Hochman, and ABARES’ water and climate manager Neal Hughes will discuss the effect climate change is having on crop yield and production and what farmers can do to mitigate its impact.