With 90 percent of the state either out of drought or in drought recovery, and with decent rain forecast for the beginning of 2021, the NSW farming sector faces a positive start to the year.
The coming decade is an exciting one for the sector, as it works toward its target of $30 billion by 2030. Agriculture and regional NSW will be set to capitalise on the disruption caused by COVID-19.
The economic stimulus measures announced in late 2020 will usher in new infrastructure projects as well as a renewed focus on local value adding and manufacturing.
A key focus of NSW Farmers' advocacy has been the duplication of the Great Western Highway, the artery connecting the Central West to the major domestic markets and export hubs of Sydney.
The project has had over $2.5 billion committed to it so far.
This upgrade should be expedited, especially in light of the Western Sydney Airport and the accompanying Agribusiness Precinct opening in 2026.
A quicker trip to Sydney will enable the movement of high-value perishable items, such as horticultural produce from the Central West, to fresh food export markets in Asia and the Middle East.
2020 was the year of the business pivot, and agriculture was no exception.
Hospitality and travel restrictions altered operating conditions for many businesses, while supply chain disruptions have inspired fresh calls for stronger domestic value adding.
With around 70 percent of Australian agricultural produce exported, there's potential to extract greater value from the industry at a local level.
Throughout 2021 we will also continue to advocate for reform to Australia's competition framework, a legislated Right to Farm, and for an environmental planning framework that recognises the critical role farmers play in biodiversity conservation.
NSW Farmers wishes its members and the farming community all the best for the year ahead.
- James Jackson, NSW Farmers President
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