March 7, 2013
Greater investment in research and development, less regulation and greater trade liberalisation needs to be the focus for the Federal Government if it wants to support anticipated growth in our domestic agriculture sector. NSW Farmers President Fiona Simson’s comments follow the release of the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) report – Global food production and prices to 2050 – released this week. She said the report modelled food production and prices to 2050 following a projected increase in food demand. ABARES studies estimate that world agrifood demand will be 77 percent higher in 2050 than in 2007. Ms Simson said this was a great opportunity for Australian agriculture especially when we are so close to the major demand centres in Asia which can easily tap into our efficient and safe food production systems. The report estimates that as a result of the expected agrifood demand increase, agrifood prices are projected to be 11.5 percent higher in 2050 and world agrifood production 75 percent higher in 2050. ABARES also highlights where Australian farmers may get a greater benefit from this agrifood demand growth. The report notes that governments will need to continue to provide a sound economic environment with appropriate fiscal policy settings that encourage economic and productivity growth – goals which are only achievable if regulation is limited to those areas where market failures exist and where the benefits of regulation clearly outweigh its costs. ABARES also notes that value adding will play a role in Australia’s ability to capture this growth. Ms Simson said NSW Farmers had long held the position that a competitive supplier to the world market relies on operational efficiency and improvements in productivity – both of which require government commitments to invest in R&D and the reduction of regulatory burden. “We are encouraged by the report and hope that the Federal Government and opposition take on board ABARES findings and put in place the best possible settings to enable Australian agriculture to capitalise fully on the opportunities that lie ahead,” she said.