Extreme weather and COVID-19 impacting Pacific Island exporters, new survey con
Sixty-five per cent of Pacific Island exporters in a new survey reported that extreme weather has negatively impacted their business over the past year.
Among those affected, 41 per cent said extreme weather conditions have had a major impact on their business, according to Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) Australia’s ‘2020 Pacific Islands Export Survey’ released yesterday.
Now in its eighth year, the biennial survey provides insights into trends, changes and business sentiment across 16 countries in the Pacific Islands.
For the first time, the survey of 226 export businesses was expanded to explore the impacts of weather patterns.
Increased frequency of storms (38 per cent), extreme rainfall (26 per cent), rising air temperature over land (19 per cent), decreased rainfall (17 per cent), increased flooding (16 per cent), prolonged drought (14 per cent) and rising sea levels (12 per cent) are some of the weather patterns respondents said have affected their businesses.
Agriculture hard hit
According to the survey, agriculture was the industry hardest hit by extreme weather.
Of all export businesses affected by extreme weather, decreased productivity (56 per cent), damage to crops or products (50 per cent) and an increased cost of supplies (32 per cent) were reported as some of the main impacts.
“While nearly half of all businesses experienced an increase in export orders over the past 12 months, the survey found a quarter of exporters are now reporting a decline in revenue as extreme weather and COVID-19 affect productivity and disrupt operations,” said Caleb Jarvis, PTI Australia’s Trade and Investment Commissioner. “As businesses navigate economic uncertainty, they are feeling less confident about the coming year. “Twenty-seven per cent expect a decline in revenue and there has been a significant decline in exporters looking to hire new employees over the next 12 months. However, despite the crisis, manufacturing and agriculture remain confident, indicating a strong ongoing demand for their products.” The Lowy Institute’s Pacific Islands Program Director, Jonathan Pryke, said that while many Pacific Island exporters were doing it tough, there was good cause for optimism.