Australian agribusiness goes from strength to strength

Australia has seen a 28% surge in food and beverage exports in the year 2014-15, as the nation’s biggest manufacturing sector prepares for an Asian "dining boom"


A report by the Australian Food and Grocery Council’s (AFGC) annual industry snapshot highlights strong export growth in the industry, bolstered by landmark trade agreements.

Gary Dawson, AFGC CEO said, “Growth prospects for the future are strong, reflected in surging food exports in recent years. In 2014-15 processed food and beverage exports were up 28% or almost $6bn to $26bn and the trade surplus almost doubled to $10bn.

“The falling Australian dollar and improved market access flowing from trade agreements are improving the competitiveness of Australian food and beverage exports in key markets, and along with Australia’s reputation for safe, high quality food this is driving export growth.”

According to agribusiness bankers at the National Australia Bank, quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald, an emerging Chinese middle class could provide even more opportunities for export growth.

“The Chinese are transitioning from a carbohydrate-based diet to a protein-based one; at present that protein is mainly coming from pigs and chickens, but beef will become increasingly important” they said.

But, the AGCA warned, without enhanced capital investment, Australia could miss the opportunities this change in appetite could afford.

“One area of weakness exposed in the State of the Industry 2015 report is capital investment, which is falling at a time when a lift in investment is vital for the Australian food and grocery sector to scale up and meet the opportunities of the future.

“Future growth to fully capitalise on improved market access and growing demand from middle class consumers in the emerging economies of Asia and the Middle East will require a step change in investment in the food and grocery sector.”

Ellie Clayton