Agricultural growth surged by an extraordinary 27.6 per cent in 2016, the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics national accounts have revealed, following a record harvest in every state. While agriculture enjoyed leaps in growth, the traditional driver of the Australian economy mining grew by just 4.6 per cent. Retail struggled, and manufacturing and construction went backwards. Agriculture had 10 times its average contribution to the economy in the three months to December, making up 0.5 per cent of the country’s 1.1 per cent growth. It usually contributes just .05 per cent.
The farming boom looks set to continue, with export earnings in cotton projected to skyrocket by 56 per cent, wheat 25 per cent and sugar 23 per cent.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce, said regional areas had “saved the economy” but not enough Australians appreciated the contribution.
“We are actually making money that actually helps this nation pay its bills,” he said
Despite, the good economic fortune, there are still expected problems in the future.
Sugar has become a major political issue in cane growing regions due to fears the industry might miss out on the wider boom. A pricing gridlock has forced Queensland growers to stock excess harvests despite the bumper crop.
While the last year there was high export revenue for cattle, export earnings this year are forecast to fall for 17 per cent for beef. Cattle farmers are hoping that the estimate will be reversed in a new deal signed between the Australian and Indonesian governments to increase the import cattle weight limit from 350kg to 450kg as week.
Overall, the agriculture sector has seen great economic prosperity recently, however, more work is expected to be done to widen the economic prosperity to other areas of the economy such as sugar and cattle.