News

Victorian agricultural exports grow

By Rodney Woods

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.

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.

Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes launched the Victorian Food and Fibre Export Performance Report 2018/19, which shows Victoria’s agriculture sector increased by $98 million on the previous year.

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 exports – 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 Victorian Government has set a target to grow the state’s $14.2 billion food and fibre exports to $20 billion by 2030.

The Victorian Food and Fibre Export Performance Report 2018/19 can be found at: www.agriculture.vic.gov.au/exports