For many years Australian farmers, whether generational family businesses or corporate organisations, have been doing it tough. Focussing for one moment on the cattle industry in Queensland and Northern Territory, we have seen desolate countryside in with hardly a blade of grass and political decisions that at times defied any semblance of logic but carried significant international repercussions to graziers.
So, what can change? Good rainfall comes and goes, as do all political parties! Should investors look at agribusiness as a strong and secure investment strategy and can our university and tertiary graduates confidently pursue a lifelong career in agribusiness?
Absolutely! Just look at the statistics that support the massive, significant opportunity for global growth in the agriculture industry:
- We have the world’s population increasing by 47% to 8.9 billion by 2050. People are living longer and world health organisations continue to strive to improve the living conditions and health of all on our planet. Let’s take today, 31st May 2016 as an example: we are expecting 177,907 births and 74,512 deaths which leaves us with a population growth of 103,395. Now these numbers are highly fluctuating and indicative only but nevertheless are supported by census data across all first world countries showing a sustained net gain in population.
- Based on number 1, global agriculture production must therefore double to sustain growth. In 2009, the United Nations were advising that food production needed to double by 2050 to meet the demands of the world’s growing population, calling on innovative strategies to combat hunger which currently affects more than 1 billion people in the world.
- But where will new arable land be found? Short of startling exploration into the far reaches of the universe we are faced with the need for innovation to manage the land that we do have at our disposal.
Whereas in the past, Australian farmers have been viewed as conservatives who roll with the challenges that come their way, they now have the opportunity to take a stand alongside each of the science disciplines in collaborating to develop innovative strategies that will contribute to Australia’s agriculture industry now and in the future.