Australian Food & Wine
Australia has a particularly diverse set of climates and landscapes, because of this the range of produce it can generate are equally diverse. Across all agriculture sectors the aggregated income amounts to $155 billion-a-year for a 12% share of Australian GDP. In 2015 the number of people employed in the production of food and drink numbered 325,300 and Australian farmland covered 61% of the overall landmass. Added to the extensive agricultural development are over 60 different wine regions across the country making Australia one of the world’s leading quality wine exporters. Australia’s world renowned reputation for wine making has only come about in the last 200 years. But in this short time Australia’s wine is now consistently placed as one of the top ten wine makers in the world with winning producers of all types of grape and style. Famous wine regions include the Barossa Valley in South Australia, Margaret River in Western Australia, Sunraysia in Victoria and the Hunter Valley in New South Wales.
Crops & Horticulture – Wheat (cereals) oilseeds, grain legumes, nuts, fruits and vegetables are the main produce grown in Australia. As well as traditional produce Australia also has a tropical climate in Queensland and the Northern Territories where tropical produce like sugarcane and bananas can be grown. Crops and Horticulture produce have been traditionally consumed by humans and used to feed livestock. With the introduction of unlabelled imports and a lack of country-of-origin labelling customers cannot easily identify and thus support locally grown produce.
Beef Production – Brought in from European breeds beef is now the biggest agricultural sector in Australia, it makes Australia the second largest producer of beef after Brazil. Over 60% of beef is exported to markets in the US and Asia.
Lamb Production – Traditionally reared for their cotton, lamb is now increasingly becoming an important meat export.
Pork Production – Australia is not a big global producer of pork meat, but with 5 million pigs bread annually the pork industry provides many jobs and local opportunities across all states.
Fisheries – Australia exports lobster, tuna, prawns and abalone to markets worldwide. The gross production of this sector in 2002-3 was $2.3 billion.
Dairy Produce – Dairy is Australia’s fourth most valuable agricultural produce. After deregulation in 2000 smaller producers lost protection to supply local markets. Exports to Asia and the Middle East are expected to grow for the forthcoming years.
Wool & Cotton Production – In 2001 Australia produced 9% of the world’s wool, but in the fine quality Merino wool production Australia was producing 50%. Because of the high quantity of exported wool (90%) the Australian wool industry has been hit by lowering prices for natural fibres.
Issues endangering Food Production
Major issues that could become problems for agriculture in Australia are drought, water security, low soil fertility, weeds, climate change (global warming), biosecurity, tariffs on Australian exports in the importing country (Europe and Japan), subsidies to farmers in other countries, currency fluctuations and price volatility.
The agricultural industry is one of the most trade-exposed sectors in the Australian economy, a 1% change in the value of Australian dollar is the equivalent to a change of $220 million in export earnings.