Australia’s agriculture industry showed a rather excellent performance for 2015-2016, as fruit and nut production significantly rose during the period, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2015-16 Agricultural Census.
The surge in production caused an increase in employment and economic activity, such as commissioned fabric structure projects, as well as the sales of farming equipment, for several states in the country.
As of June 30, 2016, olive production in Australian farms rose 55 per cent to more than 75,000 tonnes in the covered period compared to 2014-2015. Farms also produced more bananas in the same period, up 43 per cent to 354,000 tonnes, while avocado production increased 39 per cent to 67,600 tonnes.
The trend, however, has led to some concerns over water resources. Since fruit and nut orchards produced more crops, it means more trees, such as permanent plantings, require water from major irrigations systems in the country. Some workers have worried that water might be more scarce in the event of another drought.
The census showed that Australian farms used 3 per cent less water in 2015-2016, when consumption reached 9,200 gigalitres. Irrigators also consumed less water at the same rate with 8,400 gigalitres. Those in New South Wales recorded the biggest decline in water consumption among irrigating businesses, down 21 per cent to 5,300 gigalitres.
The decrease partly stemmed from a shortage of supply due to a mostly dry and warm year. The ABS based its data from a total of 85,681 farm businesses that span 371 million hectares and provide an average annual turnover of at least $40,000.
Despite some concerns over water shortage for farming, the census provided an encouraging outlook on the future of the agriculture industry. This bodes well for the country since farming represents a crucial part of the economy and job market.