It’s hard to imagine a more exciting, dynamic or challenging time in the history of Australian agriculture and food than right now.
The Australian economy is flat, wage growth is non-existent and mortgage stress only a rate increase or two away for many.
Australian consumers have never had so much access to information about the food they consume, so many options of where and how they buy and so much power to advocate for or criticize a product they have consumed.
Discount retailers, Amazon and other online retail platforms are disrupting traditional food supply chains, food retailing and the food service sector creating what is very likely to be the most competitive food and grocery marketplace in the world by 2020.
The growth and buying power of the middle class in Asia, particularly China, is creating unprecedented demand for high quality, Australian, fresh food. Industries and businesses whose products are in demand are fetching returns no one could have imagined only three or four years ago.
Advances in technology continue to influence change in every aspect of food value chains. From how the genetics we use are selected and breed, the way fields and livestock are monitored and measured, the data we mine in order to identify opportunities to further improve efficiency & effectiveness and increasingly to the way we engage and interact directly with the consumer.
Regionally based SME’s and large scale, labour intensive enterprises are finding it increasingly difficult to source, screen, engage and manage effective, high performing seasonal labour. This increases the level of difficulty for permanent management & staff, negatively impacting the enterprises financial performance.
Agricultural graduates are scarce and increasingly mobile, making hiring and retaining young talent extremely difficult.
Rising energy costs are placing enormous financial pressure on energy intensive links in the value chain, at best forcing businesses to think creatively about how to transform their practises to reduce energy requirements and at worst forcing some out of business.
Community and commercial pressure to farm in an environmentally sustainable and low input manner has never been greater.
Abundant and seemingly low cost investment capital looking for a home in Australian agribusiness is tempting many to utilise such capital to expand.