AUSTRALIA’S rural economy has been hit hard by the global downturn.
Photo: Andrew Meares/The Australian Financial Review.
In an indication that Australia’s agricultural sector is in for a difficult ride in the coming years, the latest report by the Australian Ranches and Exporters Association shows farmers are likely to fall into a downward spiral.
The association’s chief economist, Peter Smith, said the recent fall in the market price of corn and soybeans could be a sign of more farm closures in the future.
“Corn prices are going down.
Soybean prices are down, which will give the farmers some pause,” Mr Smith said.”
But the longer term outlook is looking good for the industry.
It’s going to be good for farmers and the farmers are very resilient.”
In the longer run, there are still some opportunities in the industry, but it’s not the big ones.
“Mr Smith said while the downturn in the commodity market had had a significant impact on the Australian economy, the agricultural sector was in good shape and there were opportunities to take advantage of the coming global economic downturn.”
The major players in the Australian market are also in good health, so there are opportunities for some of the farmers to get into a bit of a rebound and see some of those benefits,” he said.
The latest R&E survey shows a decline in the number of rural households, with more than 60 per cent of them having a single occupant household.
It shows that the number is also on the rise for urban households.”
We’ve seen a significant decline in people in rural areas, particularly those in the northern and eastern parts of the country, but we’ve also seen a huge increase in people living in urban areas,” Mr McEwan said.
In the last two years, total agricultural exports have dropped by over 10 per cent, down to $13.3 billion.
In a report last year, the Australian Institute of Food and Agricultural Development said rural Australia had become a net exporter of food to Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.”
Despite the continuing economic challenges and a lack of certainty about future growth and inflationary pressures, the rural economy continues to have a major role to play in Australia’s food security and wellbeing,” the report said.
Topics:economics-and-finance,economic-trends,food-and,foodservice,agriculture,australiaFirst posted January 01, 2020 10:00:50Contact Amy GannonMore stories from Western Australia