It is an exciting time for Australia’s agricultural industries. The gross value of Australian farm production has been forecast to reach billion for the first time this year building on the strong growth figures of previous years.1
Australia’s chicken meat industry plays an integral role in Australian agriculture and in the broader Australian economy, with the industry conservatively estimating that consumers currently spend .6 billion per annum on chicken meat in supermarkets, fast food outlets, speciality shops and restaurants.
Yet the agricultural sector is not without its challenges. Concerns about the environmental impact of agricultural activities and the sustainability of food producing operations are topical; equally important are animal welfare matters and the land use restrictions faced in many regions. Food safety and, in more recent years, food security are quite rightly a focus of attention both at the political and the consumer level.
The Australian Farm Institute holds the view that the agriculture sector needs to take responsibility for its own future directions by engaging in objective and credible policy research, rather than relying on Governments and policy-makers to come up with solutions. The foundation of all good policy is a solid information base and a good understanding of the way the sector works. It is also important to share this information so that a well-informed policy debate is possible at all levels of the industry and government.
This report makes a valuable contribution to this process. It brings together available industry information to broaden our understanding of where the chicken industry fits into Australian agriculture and Australian society. The report also explains how the Australian chicken meat industry is equipping itself to face future challenges at a national and global level.
It considers recent trends that have shaped the industry and its place in a global context and looks at key industry drivers. The industry’s strong commitment to research, development, innovation and embracing new technologies is also canvassed.
Objective information and informed debate are key tools to ensure future profitability and sustainability of Australian agriculture. Industry reports such as this play a key role in delivering objective information to a wide range of audiences in a format that is clear and accessible.
Australian Farm Institute
1 ABARES, 2011, Agricultural Commodities, September Quarter 2011, p124