Though Australian agriculture is well placed to weather the COVID-19 storm, it is unlikely it will come out unscathed. Improving seasonal conditions, leaping grain prices, cheaper fuel and an export-friendly dollar won't necessarily be enough to shield it. Dairy, sugar, sheepmeat, cotton, wool and wine values were already feeling the blowback from coronavirus' market disruption. (See also here and here)
The first shipment of Australian persimmons arrived in Thailande on one of the last remaining flights out of country due to COVID-19 restrictions. The product sold out almost immediately. Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the shipment showed the commitment to expanding market access for Australian agricultural products, even during unprecedented and challenging times.
The dive in the Australian dollar recorded since mid-January is influencing wheat prices, which exceeded $400 a tonne last week. Other influencing factors include changes in food consumption as a result of the virus and countries becoming unwilling to export.
The competition watchdog has warned of scammers now trying to exploit Australians who are suffering financially due to COVID-19. Scammers are cold calling and claiming to help with early access to super. They are also using emails, and it has been advised to never follow a hyperlink to the myGov website.
Ag research is able to continue despite the pandemic, though new protocols are being put in place to ensure that staff health and safety is paramount.
The cancellation of the Royal Queensland Show has left many wondering what to do. Producers have prize winning goods such as 100kg pumpkins and jars of jam that now have nowhere to go. The QCWA is going to miss out on a major fundraiser. They are looking into other ways of selling their preserves and handmade goods so they can continue to fundraise for community projects.
The NSW CWA is serving virtual scones in the wake of the closure of the Sydney Royal Easter Show. The CWA usually raises $150,000 a year at the show. By purchasing a virtual scone or devonshire tea, you will receive the famous CWA recipe to make at home.
The limited reasons for travel and going through border checkpoints in WA are set out in this ABC article.
ANU scientist Dr Andrew Glikson says “the world’s gaze may be focused on COVID-19 right now. But the risks to nature from human-made global warming – and the imperative to act – remain clear.”