Australia's booming ag sector grows 23% in a year

SUBSCRIBE to our fortnightly e-newsletter to receive more stories like this. Semitrailer hauls cattle to port for live export: according to ABARES' latest estimates, Australia's ag exports topped $50b in FY 2016-17, with grains and livestock the strongest performers.

The nation’s agricultural sector grew by an impressive 23 percent in FY 2016-17, the fastest of all 19 Australian industries, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce on 7 September 2017.

While the principal drivers of this phenomenal growth are the grains and livestock industries, other agricultural industries have also performed strongly over the period, the Minister noted.

“Australian agriculture contributed 0.5 percentage points of the nation’s total 1.9 percent growth over the course of the year, an outstanding contribution given the size of the sector compared to total national GDP,” he said.

Agriculture contributed more than $50 billion in exports in FY 2016-17, accounting for nearly 14 percent of Australia’s total exports of goods and services, with ag exports up nearly 10 percent from $41 billion five years ago.

Australian almonds (here, growing on the tree) are in high demand on the Subcontinent, with Australian almond exports to India up more than 50 percent over FY 2016-17.
Australian almonds are in high demand on the Subcontinent, with Australian almond exports to India up more than 50 percent over FY 2016-17.
Wiki Commons

Aussie ag export boom

According to ABARES’ latest estimates, the value of Australia’s farm exports will reach a record $48 billion in 2016-17, with fisheries exports estimated to be around $1.4 billion, and forestry product exports at more than $3 billion.

Agriculture’s top export performers in FY 2016-17 were cereal grains and livestock products – beef, lamb, goatmeat, offal and the like – but other industries are making strong inroads in overseas, especially in burgeoning consumer markets across Asia.

“While grains and livestock products each contributed around $10 billion to [Australia’s 2016-17] export performance, other agricultural industries are also billion-dollar performers,” Minister Joyce said.

“For example, in 2016-17 our pulses exports to the world were worth over $3 billion, wine exports $2.4 billion, nuts exports $822 million and citrus over $330 million.

“Australia has seen great growth in produce to markets such as India,” noted Minister Joyce. “India is going nuts for Australia’s nuts with the value of almond exports up over 50 percent for the first half of 2017. Chickpea exports to India increased by almost 90 percent in 2016-17 to a record value of $1.1 billion.”

India is now the largest market for Australian nuts, with exports worth $143 million last FY.

Strong growth in ag exports to China over the past financial year has seen Asia’s consumer powerhouse surpass the United States as our most valuable market for wine for the first time ever.

in FY 2016–17, Australian wine exports to China totalled $596 million, 43 percent up on the previous year’s sales.

Wine-tasting at Penfolds cellar door: Australian wine label Penfolds was one of the big winners at the 2016 IWC in London.
Wine-tasting at Penfolds cellar door: Australian wine exports to China surpassed those to the US for the first time ever in FY 2016-17.
Andrew Moor, Flickr CC

Government support paying off, says Joyce

“The [Australian] Government has delivered strong agriculture policies including opening up market access for Australian producers to some of the nation’s most important export markets, including free trade deals with China, Japan and Korea,” Minister Joyce said.

“Through the Coaltion's $4 billion Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper we have been working to create a better business environment for farmers, and to build the infrastructure needed to support continued growth – through a whole raft of policies, which our agriculture sector is responding to with enthusiasm.

“It is great to see how effectively Aussie farmers are capitalising on the opportunities on offer to increase production and exports,” he said.

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