Full extent of virus on agriculture still unknown

THE full extent of the COVID-19 pandemic impact on Australian agriculture remains unclear, despite the sector faring better than other industries.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics has echoed that widespread view in a report that explored the effect of coronavirus on Australian agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

The report showed agricultural exports had somewhat weathered the impact of the virus despite global volatility across food service channels and freight pathways.

ABARES acting executive director Peter Gooday said because agricultural exports principally relate to food, “trade will continue and consumers will continue to want Australian agricultural products”. But as the virus spreads across the globe, second and third waves of impacts “are likely”.

“In the immediate future, supply chain and logistics disruptions will create the most significant risk to the sector and hence to producer incomes,” Mr Gooday said.

“Despite the pandemic, it is the recent difficult seasonal conditions in Australia that will continue to dominate industry fortunes over the short term.”

ANZ’s latest commodity report showed Australian agriculture fared well in recent weeks when compared with other industries.

ANZ head of agribusiness Mark Bennett said the COVID-19 situation was volatile, “and it is hard enough to understand what is happening each week, let along what might happen in coming months”.

He said increased consumer demand for wheat, grains, and beef had helped shelter the agricultural industry from the economic impact of the virus, but other sectors, such as wine, seafood, and wool were compromised, due to their heavy reliance on China as a market.

Beef, in particular, stood out during a surge in consumer demand for Australian produce despite early disruption at the distribution and retail end of the chain.

Original article sourced from https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/

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