CANBERRA, March 7 (Xinhua) — Australian farm produce is predicted to boom this year as overseas markets clamour for locally grown nuts such as almonds and macadamias as well as agricultural stalwarts such as beef, lamb, wool and cotton.
The value of Australian agricultural production is forecast to surge by 8.3 percent this financial year to a massive 48.5 billion U.S. dollars, thanks to favourable seasonal conditions in most farming areas and strong prices for major exports such as beef, lamb and wool.
But it is the increase in popularity of Australian nuts which has taken the industry by surprise, with export records being smashed across the country.
The value of tree nut exports is projected to be 577 million U.S. dollars in 2016-17, down on last year, but still the second highest on record.
Australia is now the second-largest almond exporter in the world, and largest exporter of macadamia nuts. The biggest buyers of Australian almonds in 2015-16 were India and Spain, while the biggest buyer of Australian macadamias was China.
In figures released on Tuesday by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) at the Outlook 2017 conference in Canberra, record crop production and strong performances across livestock industries have been credited for the successful rise.
The report also forecast a record amount of wheat production (22.8 million tonnes), barley (7.4 million tonnes) and chickpeas (1.4 million tonnes) in 2016-17.
The growth doesn’t seem to end there either, with export earnings predicted for 2017-18 including a 35 percent rise in cotton, and up to 10 percent in dairy and wool.
“It’s a record-breaking year in each state for winter crop production,” Trish Gleeson, acting chief commodity analyst for ABARES, told Fairfax News on Tuesday.
National Farmer Federation (NFF) president Fiona Simson was also excited about the figures from the report. “Agriculture might be the new black,” she told Fairfax on Tuesday.
“There’s been a lot of talk about a golden era for agriculture. And I think figures like this really show that agriculture is on the rise.
“We have been contributing for many generations solidly to the GDP, but to see these sorts of increases, to see these sorts of numbers – which NFF has been tipping for some time – is extremely satisfying.
“We think that agriculture is actually one of, if not the, fastest growing industries in Australia right now.”