Closely linked with the agriculture sector is agrifoods. While the sector has been seen as an avenue to save the country’s working class labour slump in mining, agrifoods workers today are heavily underqualified, according to the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency’s Food and beverage workforce study.
Agriculture is today considered one of the five “economics pillars” of the Aussie federal government, and food processing is Australia’s biggest manufacturing sector, the training in these fields has not risen at par with growth in the last few years. The use of new techniques and technologies, as a result of current industrial restructuring today needs workers to have more skill sets. The Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency’s Food and Beverage report recommended skill development, pushing employers to invest more in training their workforce, and working closely with education and training to ensure that they are relevant to the industry. Online Courses Australia is a popular skill enhancement avenue for agriculture courses online. Explore their online courses offerings on http://www.onlinecoursesaustralia.edufor more information
Lack of skilled farmers
another major issue is the lack of highly skilled agriculture workers. Australia often has to recruit from international markets, and farm owners often resort to the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme to enable workers to permanently migrate to the country for agriculture. The National Farmers Federation chief executive Matt Linnegar agrees that the education and agricultural sector need to come together to create a long-term education plan for the Aussie workforce in the agriculture sector. A labour shortfall of over 96,000 full-time workers and 10,000 part-time workers was noted four years ago by the Australian Farm Institute. The Institute’s study, funded by the Horticulture Australia and Agrifood Skills Australia, had predicted an imminent shortage, which could lead to higher labour cost and low prospects for the sector.
Due to low awareness of specialized skills, people leaving schools had poor perceptions of the agriculture sector and working as a worker. Additionally, it was noted that employers in the sectors seemed “indifferent” in making their workers acquire education or training.
The massive potential in agribusiness
However, high prices and returns on food sector producers and investors have indicated heavy demand. This means that the agriculture investors still have abundant room to grow and prosper. With the increased demand for high quality food, powered by an increasing middle class, across the world, this demand can only increase. Developed countries, in particular, are being soon as being major demand hubs in the coming future as people want access to better quality foods, including fruits, vegetables and edible oils. Further, instead of survival rations like rice and wheat, today these countries are looking for foods with higher protein, which means more labor-intensive practices.
Investors have identified agribusiness as a safe bet, with steady demand and low volatility. Despite the recent market downturn, the business did pretty well. The population boom has also powered this demand, with 80 million new mouths to feed, year on year.
The agribusiness sector also plays an important role in supporting the demands for alternative fuels – and products like corn and palm oil are a key components of these fuels. This is a result of concerns about the environment and global energy mandates. Additionally, as China, India and Vietnam, traditional hubs of farming convert their farming land for housing and real estate purposes, Australia’s farm land’s returns makes it a major economic asset. And, the country’s climate and geography makes it great for offering a variety of crops. The country’s location makes it well placed to access Asia’s market.