AGRICULTURE  has become the largest contributor to Australian GDP growth in 2016-17, contributing more than a quarter of the nation’s total 1.9 percent expansion.

Australian Bureau of Agricultural Resource Economics (ABARES)  figures released in August show the agricultural sector also grew the fastest of all 19 industries in 2016-17 — up a creditable 23 percent to realise 0.5 percent growth for the 2016-17 financial year.

Livestock and cropping industries were the major contributors, but other billion dollar agriculture industries also significant, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce. 

Mr Joyce said the agriculture sector grew the fastest of all 19 industries in 2016-17, particularly driven by the grains and livestock industries, but with other agricultural industries also performing strongly.  

“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,” Mr Joyce said

Agriculture contributed more than $50 billion in exports in 2016-17, just under 14 percent of Australia’sr total goods and services exports. This is up from $41 billion five years ago.

“While grains and livestock products each contributed around $10 billion each to this export performance, other agricultural industries are also billion dollar performers,” Mr 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. India is going nuts for Australia’s nuts with value of almond exports up over 50 percent for the first half of 2017. Chickpea exports to India increased by almost 90 per cent in 2016-17 to a record value of $1.1 billion.”

Mr Joyce said strong growth had seen China overtake the US as Australia’s most valuable market for wine, for the first time. Wine exports to China totalled $596 million in 2016–17, a 43 percent increase on the previous year. 

“The Coalition 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,” Mr Joyce said.

“Through the Coalition’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. 

“These policies and investments have provided a solid foundation for growth, and it is great to see how effectively Aussie farmers are capitalising on the opportunities on offer to increase production and exports.

“The Coalition Government has a real vision for Australia’s agriculture sector and from day one we have delivered practical policies and genuine investment to turn the show around and transform agriculture in this nation

“I hate to think what the state of agriculture and the support for our farmers would be under Labor, I don’t even think they have an agriculture policy—have nothing to say on the subject.”


  • Gross value of farm production is estimated by ABARES to have reached a record $62.8 billion in 2016-17.
  • The value of farm exports alone is estimated by ABARES to have reached a record $48 billion in 2016-17, plus fisheries exports of around $1.4 billion and forestry product exports of more than $3 billion. 
  • Total value of Australian nut exports was $822 million in 2016-17, with India the largest market for Australian nuts at a value of $143 million.



AUSTRALIAN cotton producers seem confident of another good year ahead in international markets, with Rabobank research supporting that optimism.

With the Australian cotton harvest completed, growers were greeted with the prediction by Rabobank that domestic prices would remain strong – above $520 a bale –  through 2017/18. 

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FINDING new routes to market that cut out the ‘middle man’ are emerging as the latest trend in the rise and rise of Australian wine sales in China.

China last year overtook the United States to become the biggest buyer of Australian wine, following a 40 percent growth in sales for 2016. Exports of wine to mainland China rose from A$370 million in 2015 to $520 million in 2016. 

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THE Federal Government has steered its Fair Farms initiative through stakeholders in the horticulture industry in a bid to restore consumer and public confidence in the sector as an ethical employer.

Fair Farms aims to offer growers in the horticulture sector “the tools they need to ensure workers are treated fairly” according to Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Anne Ruston. The industry has been hit by media exposure of unfair work practices, especially in relation to international students working in the sector on temporary working holiday visas. 

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AGRIBUSINESS mergers and acquisitions specialists InterFinancial have logged a recent uptick in price-earnings (PE) ratios in the sector.

Through to the end of November, the food and agribusiness sector tracked by InterFinancial and informed by research through S&P Capital IQ, showed multiples had increased over the quarter and reached the 19.5 times PE in November. That is a significant lead over the ASX200 average PE of 17.6x. 

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EXCLUSIVE Honey Gold mango producer, Piñata Farms, will continue to expand plantings in the Northern Territory – now a major growing region – following a successful 2016-2017 mango season.

Piñata Farms  managing director Gavin Scurr said the volume produced over summer was consistent with previous years, despite being three weeks shorter. 

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WESTERN Australia’s South East Premium Wheat Growers Association (SEPWA) – as part of the ‘Do it yourself (DIY) Precision Agriculture’ project funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) – has published working examples of precision agriculture in practice to assist farmers.

SEPWA’s new publication, Calculating return on investment for on farm trials, contains case studies and examples of how Western Australian growers have used precision agriculture (PA) tools to implement and measure on-farm trials. 

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