Agribusiness the new mining sector: AFGC

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 24th September 2009

Agribusiness is becoming the “new mining sector” in terms of growth industries in Australia, according to the nation’s leading organisation representing food and grocery manufacturers, the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC).

Speaking at the Agrifood Skills Australia conference in Sydney today, AFGC Chief Executive Kate Carnell highlighted that the agribusiness sector – which includes Australia’s $100 billion food, grocery and beverage industry – has been resilient during the global financial crisis while most other industries have declined.

“The agrifoods industry remains strong and continues to grow despite the economic downturn and the challenges of food security, climate change, increasing populations and Asia’s growing middle class,” Ms Carnell advised. “While facing these challenges, the agrifoods industry has played a major role in keeping our nation out of recession.”The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures on Australia’s GDP show:
· Agriculture has grown by 3 per cent between June 08 and June 09
· Food manufacturing has increased by 5.4 per cent over the same period.

Other leading economic indicators, including the Commonwealth Bank Agribusiness Index, have forecasted that this economic growth in agrifoods is expected to continue into the foreseeable future.

A major focus of the Agrifood Skills Australia conference is to encourage better outcomes for Australia’s training systems and improve the availability of skilled and trained workers in the agrifoods sector. Ms Carnell said the agribusiness industry continued to offer a broad range of fulfilling jobs from farmers to corporate offices in New York.

“In this industry, you can be a food scientist, accountant, factory manager, marketer or a farmer and be employed anywhere across the globe,” Ms Carnell noted.

Australia’s $208 billion agribusiness sector – which feeds more than 60 million people worldwide – employs more than 900,000 people and has continued to be a key export earner for Australia with potentially much greater things ahead.

“For Australia’s agribusiness industry to further increase its percentage share of the world market, it must grow its exports through more value-adding,” Ms Carnell suggested.

“The agribusiness sector has the potential to the best performing industry of the future, overshadowing previous boom industries- it’s essential to everyone’s daily needs, and supplies safe, healthy and sustainable products to the world.”