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Agriculture spurs economic growth

02 December, 2010

Australia's modest national seasonally adjusted growth of 0.2% over the September quarter is a reminder of the farm sector’s fundamental importance to our economy, with agricultural growth soaring 21.5% over the quarter.

"If not for the farm economy, Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan would be playing down the Australian economy’s lapse into negative territory today," National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) CEO Ben Fargher said as the first meeting a federal government National Food Plan was held in Sydney.

"It really does drive home just how important Australian agriculture is. Not only does it feed this nation and many around the world, it is still the backbone of our economy. Through the good times and bad, farming is the stabilising feature that gives our economy strength and surety.

"Equally, our farmers need surety to produce the food we take for granted each day. In fact, around 93% of the food we eat every day is grown on an Australian farm – that’s about 40% of everything we produce. The rest is destined for world markets.

"Today’s discussion around a National Food Strategy with Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig is something the NFF has driven. With massive population growth predicted over the next 40 years – 36 million domestically and 9 billion globally – we need to shore up food security in this country and make certain we have a strong agricultural base to cope with surging demand.

"When we think of the political challenges – be it the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and proposed water cuts for farmers of up to 90% in some areas, the massive slide in productivity-based research and development spending in agriculture and the dysfunctional infrastructure we grapple with – the NFF is determined to make sure there is cohesive alignment of Australia’s economic and food production needs.

"Despite excessive rain across many parts of the country in the last few weeks and the Aussie dollar hovering around parity with the greenback for a month, our farmers are doing what they always do... rolling up their sleeves, making the best of the circumstances and getting on with the job."

Source: National Farmers' Federation

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