Australian farmers can take a bow with the latest national accounts figures revealing agriculture is now the nation’s biggest contributor to gross domestic product (GDP) and the fastest growing sector.
National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) President Fiona Simson said it was a great sense of pride for farmers that the nation’s prosperity was closely linked to the job they did.
“Agriculture is definitely the V8 engine powering Australia’s economic growth.”
Overall, the farm sector contributed 0.5 percentage points to the national total growth of 1.9 per cent over the past year.
“In 2016-2017 agriculture production was valued at $62.8 billion – that’s on-farm alone.
“During this period the sector grew by a massive 23% – the largest growth of any of Australia’s 19 industries.”
Ms Simson said the figures were driven primarily by growth in wool, red meat, grains and more niche industries such as nuts and wine.
“Positive terms of trade are the result of unprecedented international demand for our quality food and fibre.”
Agriculture contributed $50 billion in exports in 2016-17 , just under 14% of Australia’s total, goods and services exports.
“The coming into effect of a number of valuable preferential trade agreements has contributed to this growth, as has the growing affluence of the Asian middle class,” Ms Simson said.
The national accounts figures come in a week when the NFF with the Deputy Prime Minister Hon Barnaby Joyce MP, announced a national day to celebrate Australian agriculture and the industries that support it.
“National Agriculture and Related Industries Day on Tuesday November 21 2017 is a day for all Australians to celebrate the significant economic and social contribution farming makes to our nation and the world,” Ms Simson said.
“Today our farmers feed about 61 million people globally and that demand is growing.
“The farm sector is also the powerhouse behind our regional communities.
“Farming and affiliated food and fibre industries provide jobs to about 11.5 million Australians!”