Thursday, April 17, 2008

Australian rice farmers switching to growing wine grapes

Another good one from Agora - courtesy of their 5 Minute Forecast (if you couldn't tell, I read this publication religiously):

On the other side of the world, extreme drought and telling profit margins have Australian rice farmers switching to growing wine grapes. Australian rice? Yeah, that’s what we thought, too. But the reduction in rice imports from Australia has helped add pressure to an already strained global market for the little white grains.

A multiyear drought has crushed the Australian rice industry. According to The New York Times this morning, the Aussie rice crop has been decimated… down 98% over the past six years.

As the weather worsens, Australian farmers have taken to growing wine grapes -- not because the grapes command higher selling prices, but because the water required to grow rice is too expensive.

Regardless what you think of their politics, The N.Y. Times makes great charts. We nicked this one for you this morning:

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