Sat, 26 Sep 2020

SYDNEY, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- Australia's agricultural production is on track to rebound after three years of drought, however earnings will be tempered by the effects of COVID-19 on global trade, according to a report released Tuesday.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARES) predicted the gross value of agricultural production to remain unchanged in 2020-2021 on the year before, at 61 billion Australian dollars (44.4 billion U.S. dollars).

A solid year of crop production was credited with leading the recovery, after much needed rain soaked drought-affected areas in the country's east.

"The value of crop production is forecast to increase by 17 percent to over 32 billion Australian dollar (23.3 billion U.S. dollars) on the back of much improved seasonal conditions, particularly in New South Wales," ABARES executive director Dr. Steve Hatfield-Dodds said.

"But while crop production volumes are forecast to grow strongly, they will be offset by a hit to earnings brought about by strong global supply and COVID-19 induced lower prices."

Additionally, livestock production fell as herds and flocks were yet to be rebuilt following the drought, with a forecast earnings hit of 14 percent to 28.9 billion Australian dollars (21.1 billion U.S. dollars).

Overall, Hatfield-Dodds said that agriculture appeared to be far less disrupted by COVID-19 than other sectors, although future outbreaks would further disrupt global spending and supply chains.

"People still need to eat even if the economic downturn means they have to cut spending in other areas," he said.

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