Victoria’s food and fibre exports have topped $12.8billion, the highest total in the state’s history, a new report has revealed.
Released last month, the Food and Fibre Export Performance Report 2016-17 shows a six per cent growth in exports, adding $720million in value, as Victoria continues to lead Australia’s exports in a number of industries despite slowing growth.
Record low milk prices and falling production have combined to see the value of Victoria’s dairy exports fall six per cent, or $114million dollars, yet still combined to bring in a total of $1.7billion in 2016-17.
Victoria still produces the majority of Australia’s dairy exports, producing 79 per cent yet volumes have decreased by 35000 tonnes, or six per cent.
Butters, fats and oils dropped 31 per cent and buttermilk fell 40 per cent while yoghurt experienced a surge in export value, rising by more than a quarter.
Japan and China continue to be the main markets for dairy exports, with a combined value of more than $670million, with the value of Victorian milk and cream products also increasing in Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong.
Forecasts for the dairy industry in the coming year suggest a steady increase in milk production of two to three per cent nationally.
Grains have enjoyed high export levels as a result of last year’s record harvest, with the value of grains exports booming, gaining $839million in value and increasing 87 per cent, with wheat, barley, canola, oats and pulses still the key grains produced by Victorian farmers.
The rise has been largely carried by growing wheat exports which saw a 54 per cent increase, adding $802million in value.
However, the report said the export market will continue to face pressure from competitors with Russia, Ukraine and Argentina all producing cheaper grain, continuing to force the Australian grower to improve their supply chains and modernise their farming enterprises.
Horticulture suffered mixed results with healthy increases of 22 per cent and 18 per cent in the oils and extracts and vegetables not enough to offset some large falls in a number of areas including 26 per cent and 37 per cent drops in nuts and some fruits exports.
Citrus export volumes increased moderately yet resulted in healthy returns for growers with an extra $16million made on last year’s results.
The whole industry fell seven per cent on last year’s results, losing $86million, yet vegetables continued to perform better than the fruit sector, growing 18 per cent in comparison to the fruit category’s two per cent growth.
Wool exports rose to $1.8billion, with an increase in exports to China of 19 per cent, while lamb exports rose to $764million off the back of a 23 per cent rise in exports to the United States and exports were buoyed by a 40 per cent increase in exports to China, adding a further $290million to last year’s values.