News

Food and fibre exports growing

By Country News

Victorian food and fibre exports now contribute a record $14.1billion to the state’s economy and are on track to meet the Andrews Labor Government’s target of $20billion by 2030.

Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes has released the 2017-18 Victorian Food and Fibre Export Performance Report, which shows an overall increase of 11 per cent or $1.4billion on the previous year.

Victoria now accounts for 27 per cent of Australia’s total food and fibre export, with strong growth across most commodities in the past financial year.

A strength of Victoria’s food and fibre sector is its diversity and reputation for producing quality, clean and healthy food for key Asian markets.

China remains Victoria’s number one export market, with exports growing 27 per cent on the previous year to a total value of $4.6billion in 2017-18. Japan and the United States are Victoria’s second and third most valuable export markets.

Victoria’s meat industry was particularly strong, with exports up 37 per cent on the previous year, reaching a total value of $3.3billion. This has made the meat industry the state’s most valuable food and fibre export in 2017-18.

The increasing number and wealth of the world’s middle class means consumers are increasingly seeking prepared meals. Victoria’s prepared food exports performed strongly, with exports growing by 15 per cent on the previous year to be valued at $1.7billion.

Wine exports also grew strongly, with a 36 per cent increase in exports to the United Kingdom and 39 per cent rise in exports to China.

Other highlights of the report include:

■Citrus rose by $28million to be valued at $147million;

■Dairy rose by $160million to be valued at $1.9billion;

■Prepared foods rose by $229million to be valued at $1.7billion;

■Wool rose by $326million to be valued at $2.1billion;

■Seafood rose by $36million to be valued at $240million; and

■Wine rose by $73million to be valued at $363million.

‘‘The growth in Victorian food and fibre exports is outstanding and is a credit to the state’s hardworking producers, manufacturers and exporters who are leading the way to make Victoria the food and wine capital of Australia,’’ Ms Symes said.

‘‘These excellent results show we’re on track to meet our ambitious food and fibre export target of $20billion by 2030 — which will create jobs, boost business and support communities across Victoria.’’

■The 2017-18 Food and Fibre Performance Export Report is available at: agriculture.vic.gov.au/exports