General Comments (April 2019)


In early March, Robert Patterson and Mark Harris attended the 22nd IFMA (International Farm Management Association) Congress in Launceston, Tasmania.

Some observations and quotes from the Congress are as follows:

  • Australian agriculture is losing market access due to flat productivity since 1997

  • There is a critical under-investment in Research and Development (R&D), plus extension in Australian agriculture

  • There is a severe lack of quality, critical infrastructure in the supply chain

  • More farming systems research is required to focus on more resilient systems for the future

  • More collaboration and co-operation is required across disciplines and co-sectoral issues

  • Structural change is required in agriculture to the point where some producers should be paid to exit the industry

  • Agriculture’s social licence to operate cannot continue to be taken for granted

  • “Control what you can control” and maximise efficiencies by working on costs in the supply chain of commodity industries

  • Consumer perceptions of agriculture are critically important·    

  • Thirty three percent of the world’s topsoil has disappeared since 1975, while eighty percent of minerals have been lost from cropping lands

  • Thirty to fifty percent of the world’s food is currently wasted or lost post-harvest

  • We currently eat only 200 plant species, mainly five plants plus five animals

  • There are 6,000 edible plants in Australia

  • The long term decline in world commodity prices in real terms, looks set to continue, while costs increase

  • Market differentiation in grains is not well developed

  • Consumers are willing to pay a premium price based on trust in the information supplied.

GeneralFred Broughton