Victorian food and fibre exports reached a new high last financial year – showing that despite difficult seasonal and market conditions, Victoria’s agriculture sector continues to go from strength to strength.
Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes toured Yarra Valley Cherries in Gruyere during the company’s busy Christmas picking and packing period to launch the 2018-19 Victorian Food and Fibre Export Report, which shows Victoria’s agriculture sector increased by $98 million on the previous year.
While ongoing drought and dry conditions took their toll on the total volume of food and fibre exported, the high market value of beef, sheep and dairy products helped the state’s overall result – with food and fibre contributing $14.2 billion to the state’s economy.
The meat industry is still the leading sector, with exports increasing in value by 23 per cent to $4.1 billion. The USA remains Victoria’s largest meat export destination at $1.019 billion, while China’s demand for Victorian produce increased by 45 per cent with exports valued at $687 million.
Victoria’s horticulture businesses are also growing their global footprint, with exports increasing in value by 38 per cent to $1.6 billion. In particular, almonds had a record-breaking year, reaching over half a billion dollars in export – after Australian almond orchards produced a record crop of approximately 100,000 tonnes.
Victoria’s wine is also cementing its worldwide reputation for quality, with exports increasing by 12 per cent to $404 million while the volume of wine exported grew by 8 per cent.
While 2018-19 was a strong year for the sector, the impact on Victorian farmers affected by drought and dry seasonal conditions is clear. Grain exports were the worst-affected, with most of Victoria’s reserves traded domestically instead of internationally, to assist other states also suffering through a national drought.
The Andrews Labor Government has set a target to grow the state’s $14.2 billion food and fibre exports to $20 billion by 2030.
Major events supported by the Labor Government such as Global Table, EvokeAg, Gulfood in Dubai and FoodEx in Japan are also helping Victorian businesses strengthen ties with industry and global markets.
The 2018-19 Victorian Food and Fibre Export Report can be found at agriculture.vic.gov.au/exports
Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes
“While the impact on our farms from drought is clear, the growth in our meat and horticulture exports is encouraging – showing that the world can’t get enough of Victoria’s quality produce.”
“This year’s results are a testament to our hard-working, resilient food and fibre producers across the state – despite the challenges, their innovative work is driving our industry to be the best in Australia.”
Quote attributable to Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade Martin Pakula
“More people around the world are getting a taste of Victoria thanks to our increasingly global outlook and the Government is committed to supporting food exporters reach new markets and create more jobs in Victoria.”