Farm production set to boom in 2015–16
16 September 2015
Australian farm production and exports are soaring above the five-year averages, and are forecast to hit $57.1 billion and $43.4 billion respectively in 2015–16, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).
Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said these forecasts reflected the growing importance of agriculture as a key pillar of the Australian economy.
“Agriculture has always been, and will continue to be, a significant wealth generator for Australia’s economy, and this forecast predicts the value of farm production to reach $57.1 billion, 16 per cent higher than the five-year average to 2014–15,” Minister Joyce said.
“But Australian agriculture can do even better. What these results show is how important it is to deliver free trade deals and improve market access conditions for our exporters. That’s why the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) is so important—so that the significant gains our farmers have seen as a result of the Japan and Korea free trade agreements can be replicated.
“While the mining sector is the largest export earner for Australia in the short-term, agriculture will continue to perform, year in, year out, and provide the rural jobs that are the lifeblood of so many communities long after the last resources are dug out of the ground.
“We have farmers right around the nation who are ready to capitalise on the opportunities that the Coalition Government is creating—whether you’re a dairy farmer from Tasmania, a fruit and veg grower in Gippsland, a top-end beef cattle producer or a grain grower from the Eastern Wheat Belt— we are delivering the policies to protect your futures and grow prosperity across regional Australia.
“ChAFTA will create new rural jobs and will be transformational for so many regional communities, yet Labor continues to stand in the way.
“While there are some regions and producers still doing it tough, favourable weather conditions across many major cropping regions during winter and a lower Australian dollar are set to deliver better returns to the farm sector.
“The Coalition Government recognises the importance of agriculture to our nation, and has been putting in place policies to return confidence to the sector, and drive increased profits back to producers.
“The Coalition Government’s Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper is a $4 billion investment in the future of agriculture—providing support for farmers in need, investment in modern and flexible infrastructure, money for research and development, and support for better access to premium markets overseas.”
Minister Joyce said that export earnings for farm commodities were expected to be strong.
“Australia is a trading nation and exports underpin farmgate profits in this nation—and export earnings from farm commodities are set to hit $43.4 billion this financial year—around 14 per cent higher than the five-year average of $38.2 billion in nominal terms,” Minister Joyce said.
“The free trade agreements signed with three of our biggest agricultural trading partners in China, Korea and Japan, will give us an advantage over our international competitors—and we’ve already seen increased exports for some of our key commodities into Japan and Korea like beef, horticulture and wine, since the entry into force of JAEPA and KAFTA.
“This government has also achieved 42 key market access gains or restorations of suspended markets including seven new livestock export markets, and 14 key market access improvements or actions to maintain market access.
“This is a government that backs our producers, and will continue to do so to the benefit of all Australians and the economy as a whole.”