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South Australia’s $18.5 billion Agribusiness growth

Photo – Anna Binna, Yorke Peninsula

SA’s primary production breaks records despite economic pressures

South Australia’s primary industries and agribusinesses continue to set the pace and deliver solid growth despite ongoing domestic and international pressures.

Last week’s release of the Primary Industries Scorecard 2022-23 illustrates the resilience of the sector despite pressures such as inflation and rising interest rates, the slow global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine to generate a revenue of $18.5 billion in 2022-23, an increase of 7% and accounting for 51% of the state’s merchandise exports.

Last year’s (2022-23) record grain harvest coupled with strong global commodity prices for grain, was the main driver of this increase with field crop revenue up 39% to $7.76 billion.

Other sectors to experience growth included forestry (5% to $1.46 billion) primarily attributed to the rise in the sale of wood products, while the dairy industry enjoyed a 34% increase in farmgate milk prices along with increased production and a rise in cheese exports. The seafood sector also enjoyed a 5% increase in value to $508 million, driven by price increases for southern rock lobsters (up by 8% to $53/kg) and southern bluefin tuna (up by 13% to $15.25/kg). Wool also recorded an upswing of $549 million in revenue, attributable to increases in export quantities and prices.

This growth led to a flow on effect that increased in the contribution of primary production activity (agriculture, forestry, and fishing) to the State’s economy (Gross State Product), up by 7% to $7.78 billion. There was also a rise in the total employment for primary industries and associated processing, reaching an estimated 78,000 jobs (FTE). With strong demand for additional workers continuing across many agricultural and processing sectors, attracting and training the workforce required for the future remains an important focus for the industry.

For the first time Indonesia surpassed China to become the largest export market for our agriculture and food exports. Other markets to significantly increase included India (182%) and Thailand (131%). Overall overseas exports of agriculture, food, wine, and forestry products increased by 18%, totalling $8.8 billion, a major contributor being grain exports which increased by 33% in value to reach $5.1 billion.

The Scorecard includes the revenue, sales, exports and gross value production of primary industry sectors and associated processing such as field crops, livestock, horticulture, wine, seafood, dairy, forestry, wool, skins, seeds, and animal feed.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Clare Scriven said despite the ongoing challenges, the results clearly illustrate the sector’s resilience.

“Primary industries and agribusinesses are vital to South Australia and a significant contributor to the state’s economy,” she said.

“This year’s record-breaking growth to $18.5 billion dollars in agribusiness revenue is a testament to our state’s hard working primary producers and their families who continue to strengthen our economy whilst helping ensure South Australia’s produce is elevated on the global stage.”

To view the Scorecard results including the online interactive dashboard click here.



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