Why Agribusiness Matters
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Why Agribusiness Matters
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Why Agribusiness Matters

 

  1. Agribusiness is the world’s oldest, largest, and most important industry. It is the business that enables the world to grow, trade, and feed everyone utilising the Earth’s finite resources.
     
  2. Agribusiness encompasses half the world’s labour force, half the world’s assets, and 40% of modern consumer purchases. It drives the public policy issues in economic development, food security, trade, nutrition, natural resources, protecting plant and animal diversity, genetics, and economic, social and environmental priorities.

  3. Agribusiness has a growing problem: whilst food and fibre production has grown to feed all humanity through the ages, global population growth continues unabated and the demand for food and food prices, already at their highest levels ever, will continue to soar.

  4. Agribusiness productivity has increased to match this global demand, but now both natural and contemporary production systems are nearing capacity. Restrictions to future growth and productivity are emerging; they are evident in fossil energy sources, an increasing range of natural resources (e.g. water, fertiliser), and agribusiness production and farming technology.

  5. Agribusiness has achieved industrial scale efficiencies in the developed world, but these are not replicated evenly throughout the developing world. Replicating past increases in agribusiness productivity globally will be increasingly difficult, so food prices will continue to rise, and food security will become increasingly uncertain for many countries.

  6. Today agribusiness has an image problem caused by its own success. The wider urbanised public perceive agriculture as ‘just farming’, just raising livestock and growing crops. Yet, agribusiness is a complex system involving a whole constellation of activities and supporting businesses that move food and fibre from where it is produced to where it is consumed. Societal expectations about the methods of production increasingly impact the industry.

  7. Agribusiness accounts for a third of nearly every country’s economy, and yet less than 2% of agricultural employment opportunities are on farms. Less than 1.5% of students entering universities choose agriculture as a career, and there is a growing shortage in the global supply of graduates to fill industry vacancies to meet future challenges. Education levels are directly connected to productivity improvement.

  8. Agribusiness and agriculture are too important to ignore; and both are far too important for partisanship, the rising multi-lateral problems to society demand unity of purpose and action.

Agribusiness in Australia

  1. The food and grocery manufacturing industry alone, just a part of the agribusiness sector, is the largest Australian manufacturing sector; it is twice the size of the vehicle manufacturing sector. It employs 312,000 people, including half of all employment in rural areas. Yet, only 7% of people servicing agriculture have a degree compared to 21% across all other industries. Australia does not train enough people to sustain its competitiveness.

  2. Food Security is a rising public policy issue worldwide; Australia is not immune from it. Recently, Australia became a net importer of food and grocery products. The rate of productivity increase in agribusiness and agriculture is slowing.

  3. Mining and Agribusiness are Australia’s two largest wealth-creating sectors in the economy, yet only agribusiness makes a sustainable contribution to improving productivity.

  4. Until recently, there was no peak industry body representing Australian agribusiness. The agribusiness sector is fragmented with 4000+ groups vying for attention. The Agribusiness Council of Australia was created on 20 March 2013 to help improve industry competitiveness by overcoming this industry fragmentation through better networking.

 


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