Agricultural production figures slide

By Geoff Adams

Australian agriculture is set to fall short of a target to boost production to $100 billion annually by 2030, with mixed progress across a range of areas one year into the plan.

The National Farmers' Federation released a report card last week examining the five-pillar strategy designed to boost production, which is expected to total $59 billion in 2019-20.

By 2030, agriculture, fisheries and forestry production is predicted to reach $84.3 billion a year.

NFF president Fiona Simson warned against drawing conclusions about progress one year into a 12-year plan.

It had been a mixed year for environmental outcomes, with significant gains made for sustainability and biodiversity, while climate change, water and waste remained fraught.

“Unfortunately, Australia remains without a national energy policy or national drought policy,” Ms Simson said.

“Australia can go no further without a strategic and sophisticated approach to drought.

“Farmers were having a tough year with severe drought and trade tensions resulting in a forecast modest decline in agricultural production.

“However, despite a tough year in the bush, our industry stands committed to long-term, sustainable growth.”

The NFF is satisfied with progress in innovation, which it sees as a key driver for increasing sustainable productivity.

But the lobby group is again calling for more to be done to solve agriculture's workforce challenges.

“Farmers continue to face significant skills and labour shortfalls — this directly impedes our productivity growth potential,” Ms Simson said.