The global pandemic will impact the agriculture sector for at least the next decade, water and labour shortages continue to worry farmers and the global population just continues to rise – so what is there to feel so optimistic about in Australasian agriculture?
If you ask Paul Luxton, head of Syngenta, the answer is: plenty.
Syngenta has just announced the 26 regional winners in the 2020 Growth Awards, and among them, they are already working on solving agriculture biggest challenges, while creating opportunity from improved seasonal conditions and strong markets.
The Growth Awards has four categories: Sustainability, Productivity, Community & People and a new Innovators category. Here, the finalists share some of their insights and ideas around the most topical conversations in ag and identify what they see as the the next decade’s key challenges.
Labour shortages & reskilling
Victorian vegetable grower Adam Schreurs identified the availability of agriculture labour as the biggest issue, along with climate change. “It is getting harder and harder to get unskilled labour. It’s not too bad for us with skilled labour for agriculture machine operators but guys on the ground are hard to come by for industries like ours,” he said.
Grace Brennan, the Dubbo-based founder of Buy From the Bush, said transitioning employment is a major challenge if we are to keep rural communities thriving as agricultural transformation takes place. “Agriculture needs to be resourced with really great people with great skills as we transition into a more technologically focused industry,” she said. “The skills we have are still going to be required but they are just going to change, so transitioning people already in agriculture into those new skill sets are vital to maintaining rural communities.”
Hence, even though the pandemic has had a great effect on rural agriculture communities, they are slowly starting to bounce back to their original state.
Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)