Australian horticulture worth US$8.8B annually

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Australian horticulture worth US$8.8B annually

The Australian horticultural sector contributed AUD$8 billion (US$8.78 billion) to the nation's economy over the last year, according Federal Government figures reported by the National Farmers Federation (NFF).

The figures make it the third-largest industry in agriculture, behind grains (US$11.6 billion) and red meat (US$11.4 billion).

The agricultural sector as a whole contributed AUD$43 billion (US$47 billion).

NFF president Jock Laurie said the figures showed the enormous contribution Australia’s 136,000 farms make to the economy.

"Australian farmers are seriously punching above their weight. Averaged out, these figures mean that each farm is contributing over AUD$316,000 (US$347,000) in terms of gross economic value and productivity – not to mention the supply of food and fibre to consumers both at home and abroad," he said.

"These figures are up AUD$3 billion (US$3.29 billion) on the year before, reflecting the end of a decade of drought and more favourable seasonal conditions for many farmers, particularly cotton and wheat farmers in eastern Australia.

"Of course, not all farmers have had a positive year in 2010-11, with floods and cyclones seriously impacting horticulture farmers in QLD and northern NSW, and broadacre farmers in WA battling continued drought conditions."

He said while the figures showed a rise in production, lower population growth was a concern for Australian agriculture.

"Australian farmers face a major challenge when it comes to the need to increase production, particularly given limitations to the amount of land, water, labour and other resources available.

"We are already among the most efficient producers of food and fibre in the world, so an increase in production is dependent on an increase in R&D investment, to help farmers produce more with less."

Photo: My Green Australia

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