As the nation emerges from the pandemic lending to Australian agribusinesses has increased by almost a third over the last year, new research has revealed.
The Australian Banking Association's (ABA) Agribusiness Report 2022 revealed in the 12 months to February 2022 ABA member banks lent on average $4.2 billion to agribusinesses across Australia each month.
This is a 29 per cent increase to the $3.2 billion lent per month the previous year.
ABA chief executive Anna Bligh said this was a clear example of how Australian agriculture pushed through the pandemic relatively unscathed leaving the sector in a position to play a leading roll in the long-term recovery period.
"Macroeconomic conditions across the agribusiness sector are very positive," she said.
"And as the farming sector recovers from recent years of drought, ideal seasonal conditions have resulted in bumper crop yields and strong prices are being experienced across a range of agricultural commodities."
The report also revealed on average, monthly lending to small agribusinesses increased seven per cent - from $261 million in the 12 months to February 2021 to $280 million in the 12 months to February 2022.
"Further, ABS data released this week highlights that the nation's economy is also recovering more broadly, rising 0.8 per cent in seasonal terms over the March quarter, with GDP up 3.7 per cent and terms of trade also growing by 5.9 per cent," Ms Bligh said.
"This follows a rise of 3.6 per cent in the overall economy in the previous December quarter."
Ms Bligh, however, made it clear that the success of the sector so far - and the rise in support and lending to agribusinesses - was due to more than just numbers.
"This is a sector built on strong relationships between local people built up over many years and based on respect and trust," she said.
"Agriculture has long been the backbone of the economy and Australian banks are deeply invested in the success of Australian agribusinesses and in regional customers and communities more broadly."
As Australia continues the journey of recovery through 2022, Ms Bligh said it was clear collaboration between banks with the agriculture industry, governments and stakeholders was integral to offering the support the sector needs in the long-term.
"Whether it's support alongside government incentives to purchase new farm machinery or loan deferrals during COVID and more recent floods, Australian banks stand by their customers and their communities," she said.
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