Commitment sought on Farm Innovation Fund
NSW Farmers has called on both sides of politics to commit to funding a state government program that boosts food production ahead of the election.
The Farm Innovation Fund (FIF) helps farmers to improve productivity, manage adverse seasonal conditions and ensure sustainability with a long-term, low interest rate loan for permanent capital works.
NSW Farmers Policy Director Kathy Rankin said farmers had used the FIF to identify and address risks to their farming business, improve permanent farm infrastructure, ensure long-term productivity and sustainable land use, and adapt to changes to seasonal conditions.
“Farm businesses need to be profitable to survive, but they are abnormally exposed to external factors such as climate variability, high energy and input costs, and labour availability — many of which have come to a head over the past year,” Ms Rankin said.
“It is undeniable that the economic and environmental landscape is changing, and farmers need to be equipped for what lies ahead.
“Government can partner with industry to strengthen their farm business operations, growing the food and fibre that feeds and clothes us.”
Ms Rankin said while future budgets might be tight for whoever forms government after the election, investing in the future growth of the agriculture sector would not only fill dinner plates, it would strengthen regional and rural communities and fill government coffers too.
“We know that every dollar invested in boosting farm productivity delivers a dividend of $12 for the economy,” Ms Rankin said.
“Our agricultural sector is growing and exports are booming, and with more and more hungry mouths to feed around the world agriculture is a key pillar for the state.
“Expanding strategies to help farmers build stronger businesses will secure the future of food while also delivering gains for the state economy.”
Date: Wednesday, March 15, 2023
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