Consulting is vital to support agriculture industry growth, KPMG finds

21 November 2018 3 min. read
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The Australian agricultural industry is going through a dramatic period of growth. Expected to reach a total value of $100 billion by 2030, the surge will bring with it a number of practical, operational and technical issues. In order to properly confront these issues, the consulting industry must play a key role in the scaling process.

Driven by the fact that Australia sits on the doorstep of the fastest growing economies on the planet, the agricultural industry uptake may come as no surprise. According to World Bank data, Australia has the third largest area of agricultural land behind China and the United States.

Although Australia’s population may be far less than that of both the leaders, our agricultural exports go far beyond Australian dinner tables. In fact, two thirds of all produce grown in Australia is consumed outside of the country. Alongside this, Australia also grows 93% of its its own food supply, making it one of the most secure food nations on the planet.

However, for such a large country with vast amounts of fertile land, Australian agriculture still has a long way to go. In terms of increasing sustainability, adjusting to international trends and keeping abreast of technological advancement, as well as understanding concomitant policy requirements, Australia may well struggle to keep up with demand and efficiency.

Consulting is vital to support agriculture industry growth; KPMG

“The agribusiness industry in Australia is shifting and evolving rapidly. The reach of agriculture has extended beyond the paddock due to today’s connected, educated and demanding population,” says Evie Murdoch a senior KPMG Food and Agribusiness consultant. “The importance of food and fibre production is increasing in line with the need to feed both a growing population in Australia and a global market hungry for safe, fresh food from clean, trusted sources.”

“Technology, innovation and the internet, coupled with improved funding for research capabilities, are fast becoming the most relied upon methods of increasing our production efficiencies in our regional areas, and more recently in distinct, intensive hubs co-located with large infrastructure such as airports,” she says.

As reported by KPMG and recently, Australia’s agri-food export sector is one third the size of The Netherlands’. This becomes even more relevant when considering size. The Netherlands is 1/185th the size of Australia. In other terms, a hectare of productive land in The Netherlands is 810 times more profitable than its counterpart in Australia. This is largely due to a culture of innovation, technology and investment which are fostered by a forward thinking government.

In Australia, the uptake of an digital culture has begun to flourish but is yet to transform the agricultural industry. However according to Murdoch, the industry as a whole will create opportunities for consultancy to solve the growing pains, streamline supply chains and digital innovation.

“As the economy, environment and international drivers shift and change, the carryover effect upon the supply chain after the farm gate is shifting too. There is a distinct opportunity for us to support this business beyond the farm gate as well as drive efficiencies, improve accessibility and generate traceability and provenance,” she says. “Commercial guidance and expert assistance is going to help companies capitalise on the opportunities that exist beyond the farm gate.”