Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Food and fibre export revenue hits new record

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Food and fibre sector export revenue has reached a record, hitting $57.4 billion for the year to June 30.

This is $1.2bn more into the economy than was originally forecast, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said.

The amount surpassed the previous forecast records of $56.2bn to the year ending June 2023 and represents significant growth of more than $4.3bn (8%) on the previous year to June 30, 2022, he said.

“The focus on trade and export growth remains a major cornerstone in our government’s economic recovery plan, with the securing of new free trade agreements like the United Kingdom and European Union, as well as an upgrade to the China FTA. These are resulting in more export opportunities and more value being derived.

“Our job now is to continue supporting our producers by opening doors for exporters wherever we can, and build on the seven signed or upgraded free trade agreements secured since we’ve been in office.”

The results show resilience in global economic headwinds and though prices have come off peaks, he said, exports are forecast to climb to $62bn by 2027, he said.

“It’s particularly impressive following the tough start to the year for many due to Cyclone Gabrielle and other weather events as well as the dry conditions in the south.  I’d like to acknowledge the sector’s efforts.”

Most sectors continue to perform strongly, driving solid export revenue growth. Dairy export revenue reached a record $26bn, an increase of 18% on the previous year.

Horticulture, seafood, and arable sectors are also performing strongly, with growth on the previous year of $254 million (4%), $178m (9%), and $21m (8%) respectively.

“Processed food and other exports also continue to go from strength to strength with growth of $268 million (8%) on last year.”

O’Connor said he knows the recent drop in commodity prices and elevated farm expenses will affect farmers over the coming year. 

“We all understand that farming is cyclical and we’re committed to working with the sector and to represent its work overseas.

“I want to thank the sector. They have successfully navigated enormous challenges over recent years, including the pandemic, which is a testament to their hard work, innovative thinking, and resilience,” O’Connor said.

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