Positive outlook for agribusiness

By Jamie Salter

The outlook for many parts of Australia’s agribusiness sector is strong and growing, according to Commonwealth Bank’s Regional and Agribusiness division.

CBA’s Agribusiness executive general manager Grant Cairns said there was an appetite for investment in the sector, with favourable market and seasonal conditions.

“The sector has a very strong outlook — largely due to recent rainfall in many regions across the country, combined with low interest rates, increased land values, many commodity prices holding strong and market demand for our Australian produce,” Mr Cairns said.

Mr Cairns said many agribusinesses, particularly in the southern states, had sought new funding over the past few months to invest in new machinery and technology to improve productivity.

“Many producers are looking to replace their older equipment, and take advantage of the government’s investment allowance and the favourable seasonal conditions,” he said.

“Ag machinery financed through our asset finance team has seen an increase of 27 per cent year-on-year, and three of the last four months have posted the strongest volumes of new asset finance business that we’ve seen in the past two years.

“This signals a strong trajectory into the new financial year where our agribusiness customers appear to be increasingly confident making these capital purchases.”

Growing consumer interest in the origins of food also represented a significant opportunity for agribusinesses to consider different products and new ways to take them to market.

“With a recent focus on food security and supermarket shortages, a light has shone on agriculture’s status as one of the most critical pillars of our economy,” he said.

Mr Cairns said he had heard from many growers who see this change as an opportunity to consider new business models to meet changing market demand and consumer preferences.