Government Report Reveals the Importance of Migrant Farmers to Australian Agriculture

Migrant farmers contribute to Australia's agricultural sector
Grape Harvest – Rymill Winery – Coonawarra – South Australia Photo: Roderick Eime

A recent study by the Australian Government’s Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation has revealed the importance of migrant farmers to Australian agriculture.  The report shows that immigrant farmers and workers make a major contribution to the productivity of Australia’s agriculture sector.

These [migrant] workers bring new skills and overcome labour shortages in rural and regional Australia.

The report is the culmination of a three-year research project. It fills a critical knowledge gap about the contribution migrant farmers – both permanent skilled settlers and short-term labourers.

Professor Jock Collins, lead researcher, says “the research illustrates the many different levels at which immigrants play an important role.

“In terms of skilled labour, immigrant farmers bring not only experience but innovation and entrepreneurship in techniques and commodities. South African and Zimbabwean farmers for example, have brought water saving technologies, while Asian growers have introduced new products for the food market.”

While in the minority, unsatisfactory work experiences of some working holiday-makers and Pacific Seasonal Workers are captured in the report.

The full report, titled “New Immigrants Improving Productivity in Australian Agriculture’ can be downloaded for free with a summary of the research available here.

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