Australia’s ageing farming population is a concern within the industry, according to a report from Deloitte.
The report, Positioning for prosperity? Catching the next wave, is the third in a series called Building the Lucky Country and aims to discuss growth prospects across the Australian economy.
Deloitte calls agriculture “Australia’s forgotten hero” in the report, adding that the proportion of Australia’s national income attributed to agriculture has fallen about 15 percent since 1959, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistic.
“Looking forward, business and government leaders need to ask searching questions about where our future prosperity will come from,” said Giam Swiegers, CEO of Deloitte Australia, in the report’s introduction.
The report states there are big challenges to the agri sector. “Farmers are five times more likely than the average person to still be working over the age of 65,” it says. “The retirement of many farmers in the coming decade will mean Australia’s relatively high dependence on family farms will come under increasing pressure.”
Another concern is that younger workers are preferring to go into more lucrative careers such as mining, rather than working on farms.
But the report remains optimistic about the future of the sector. “Not many Australians would look at agribusiness today and see great potential,” it says. “Yet they’d be wrong.”
“Global food demand will rise alongside the world’s population, which is expected to grow by 60 million people a year over the next 20 years. Income growth in key markets will be much more important still… Simply put, the world is on the cusp of a leap in demand for higher-value food products.”