AUSTRALIA - Australian farmers’ contribution to the nation’s wealth through export earnings is increasing at a time when other commodities are on the wane.
The country's Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures showed a seven per cent increase in the value of rural exports in 2014-15, on the back of a 9.7 per cent increase in 2013-14.
“Rural goods contributed $43 billion in exports in 2014-15 at a time when the value of all goods and services decreased by 4 per cent,” Mr Joyce said.
ABS figures 2014-15 saw a 41 per cent increase in the value of beef and veal exports, from $6.27 billion in 2013-14 to $8.86 billion, Mr Joyce went on.
Live cattle were up 47 per cent in value to $1.15 billion; live sheep up 32 per cent to $244 million; horticulture products up 11 per cent to $2.06 billion; and wool up 10 per cent to $3.16 billion.
However, wheat, barley and canola export earnings were all down in 2014-15, which Mr Joyce said was because of the ongoing drought in the eastern states and international market conditions.
“The ABS figures show the value agriculture continues to provide to the Australian economy and highlights the importance of farm exports to the nation’s prosperity,” he added.
Commenting on the results, Mr Joyce said: “These results are a strong vote of confidence from international markets in Australian farmers and the produce they grow and demonstrate just how critical free trade deals such as the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) will be for our entire farm sector.”
Mr Joyce hit out strongly at the Labor opposition party, which has been opposing ChAFTA. Concerns have been expressed over a lack of transparency on the deal and the removal of restrictions on Chinese migrant workers.
“Joel Fitzgibbon and Penny Wong’s mindless opposition to ChAFTA is putting future Australian exports and jobs in jeopardy.
"China’s imports of agricultural, food and fisheries products grew by another US$3 billion to almost US$119 billion in 2014, and Australian jobs right throughout the entire food and fibre supply chains stand to benefit from the improved market access that ChAFTA delivers,” Mr Joyce said.
ThePoultrySite News Desk