Vic dominates food exports

VICTORIA is Australia’s biggest food and fibre exporter, state government figures show. Exports by Victoria’s farmers and food manufacturers rose by $1.3 billion, or seven per cent in value, to a record $19.6 billion in 2022-23, 24 per cent of the national total.

The other states’ totals of Australia’s food and fibre exports were Western Australia at 20 per cent, New South Wales with 17 per cent, Queensland with 17 per cent, South Australia at 11 per cent and Tasmania at one per cent, with ‘Others’ (ACT and NT) combining for 11 per cent.

Food exports accounted for 81 per cent of the total and fibre 19 per cent. Victorian export volumes grew by one per cent to 12.7 million tonnes, up 179,000 tonnes on the previous year.

Grain was the largest export in 2022-23, increasing by 26 per cent to reach $5.6 billion in value, while meat was the second-largest at sector $4.5 billion (23 per cent). Dairy, with $2.52 billion, fell by two per cent but was still third with 12 per cent, followed by horticulture, up 13 per cent to $1.6 billion, at 8 per cent, driven by big rises in grapes and almond exports.

However, Victoria’s dairy exports fell by 22 per cent in volume to 515,000 tonnes, but Victoria was still the No.1 exporter by value in dairy. Victoria was also the Australian leader in horticulture, animal fibre, and skins and hides.

Food and fibre exports increased in the majority of Victoria’s key markets in 2022-23, led by China, Japan and the US, and inroads continued to be made in other strategic markets including Singapore, South Korea and Indonesia.

In 2022-23, Victoria’s top export markets by value were China $4.7b (up four per cent), Japan $1.68b (up 13 per cent), United States $1.6b (up two per cent), New Zealand $1.13b (up 15 per cent), Indonesia $1.02b (up 21 per cent), Singapore $994 million (up 57 per cent), Malaysia $827m (up12 per cent), South Korea $810m (up 22 per cent) and United Arab Emirates $693m (up 36 per cent).

The report said grain exports jumped due to high prices and favourable growing conditions, with wheat, oilseeds and barley representing about 84 per cent of total grain exports.

Meat was Victoria’s second-largest export industry, with sheep meat and beef exports contributing more than $3.7 billion.

“Victoria continues to be a regional food processing powerhouse with a 12 per cent increase in beverage exports,” the report said.

“Animal fibre exports increased in value by 13 per cent to $2.3 billion underpinned by increased demand for wool grease and yarn products.”

Notable export achievements in 2022-23 were:

  • China remains the highest value market despite the value falling from a third to a quarter since 2020;
  • Japan surpassed the US as Victoria’s second-most valuable market following average annual growth of 22 per cent since 2021;
  • The US is still the third-most valuable market, with meat exports, despite falling, 29 per cent higher than in 2021;
  • Exports to Pakistan grew by more than 200 per cent;
  • Exports to the Middle East rose by more than 35 per cent, with demand for dairy, wheat and meat high in the UAE;
  • India is the largest market for Victorian food and fibre in South Asia, and;
  • Indonesia and Malaysia are now among Victoria’s top 10 markets for grains, dairy, prepared foods, seafood and forest products.

Food and fibre sales represent more than one-third of Victoria’s overall exports. More than 70 per cent of the food and fibre produced in Victoria is exported.

Victoria has a network of 23 international trade and investment offices and trade mission program help local exporters gain access and contacts in key markets.

Gippsland Farmer

The Gippsland Farmer is a monthly agricultural newspaper reporting on rural news and distributed FREE and direct to an area covering from Cann River through to South Gippsland. For more than 40 years Gippsland Farmer has reported on a range of issues and industries including dairy, beef, vegetables, sheep, goats, poultry, organic farming, and viticulture.