Tassie farms on $2b high

TASMANIA’S record-breaking agricultural sector has passed the $2 billion gross farm gate value barrier for the first time.

The 2019-2020 Agri-Food Scorecard released this week shows the agricultural industry has grown by 13 per cent to $2.15 billion.

The state’s overall agri-food value grew to $3.22 billion, and the value of food produced after packing and processing grew to $5.27 billion.

Tasmania produces a staggering 5.5 times more food than is consumed by resident Tasmanians, with the surplus sold interstate and overseas.

Tasmania’s 2019-2020 AgriFood Scorecard notes seasonal conditions, access to irrigation and export growth as key drivers of the continuing expansion of the agricultural industry.

The Score Card measures and reports on the value and final market destinations of the state’s agriculture, food and beverage production, providing data including: the value of food and non-food agriculture and seafood production; the value added to packed and processed food along the supply chain; and the market destinations into which the products are sold.

The North is the epicentre of agriculture holding 45 per cent of the farmland, carrying 1013 farm businesses, North West 16 per cent of farmland and 857 businesses, South 39 per cent of the farmland and 650 businesses.

The sustainable agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector is Tasmania’s second-largest, employing about 14,500 people, nearly three quarters of them full-time, and accounting for 9.1 per cent of Gross State Product in 2019-20.

Tasmania leads the nation with its strong agricultural performance.

The Agri-Growth Scorecard demonstrates why Tasmanian agriculture continues to lead the nation, and we remain securely on track to achieve our target to sustainably grow the value of Tasmania’s agricultural production to $10 billion by 2050.

In 2019-20, the value of Tasmania’s international food exports reached a record $954 million and the value of total agri-food exports increased by 23pc to $1.08 billion, accounting for around 29 per cent of Tasmania’s total merchandise exports.

Rabobank’s latest quarterly Rural Confidence Survey shows that Tasmanian farmers remain among the most confident and optimistic in the country.

For the second consecutive quarter, 100 per cent of Tasmanian farmers surveyed expected current business conditions to continue or improve further over the next 12 months.

Primary Industries and Water Minister Guy Barnett said the State Government was investing $153 million in more than 70 initiatives to sustainably grow the agri-food sector as part of Tasmania’s Sustainable Agri-Food Plan 2019-23 in partnership with industry and other important stakeholders.

“We are backing in our farmers, and almost $50 million in additional funding is being invested as part of the Accelerating Agriculture policy to accelerate progress towards the long-term goal for the sector,” Mr Barnett said.

The average value of the Australian dollar over 2019-20 fell by 6.2 per cent against the US dollar to US67.14c, improving the competitiveness of Tasmanian agricultural exports.

The reserve bank lowered the cash 0.60 rate several times to a record low of 0.25pc placing downward pressure on the cost of finance.

The scorecard is online at: www. dpipwe.tas.gov.au/scorecards.

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