Agriculture has been one of the pillars supporting the country’s economy, accounting for 12% of the nation’s GDP. Due to the expansive arable land in the country, large-scale farming activities thrive, consisting of some of the largest beef ranches in the world as well as huge wheat and barley fields. The majority of the agricultural commodities produced in Australia are sold to international markets with 80% of all wheat, 90% of all wool and over 50% of barley being exported to various international destinations. The top consumers of these commodities include China, the United States, Japan, and Indonesia. The Australian landscape is predominantly arid and hence only suitable for livestock rearing and specifically beef production with estimates putting the total area under beef farming being 60% of the country.
Agricultural Export Products Of Australia
There are over 25 million head of beef cattle in Australia with an annual capacity of exporting 2.34 million tons of veal and beef, making Australia the second beef exporter in the world behind Brazil. Beef accounts for 19.9% of all agricultural exports from the country. Wheat is another top agricultural export with the country exporting over 16 million tons in 2016 according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Science (ABARES). Wheat accounts for 12.5% of all agricultural products exported from the country. The wheat is grown on large scale plantations in Western Australia, South Australia, South Wales and Queensland.
While beef is the most popular export, other types of meat from Australia are also in high demand in the export market and include mutton and goat meat. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Australia is the second biggest exporter of mutton and lamb with the country exporting a total of 0.5 million tons of lamb and 0.2 million tons of mutton with the Middle East being the primary destination. Australia is the world’s largest goat meat exporter with the country exporting over 34,000 tons in 2015, 66% of which is exported to the United States. Wool is another top export product of the country with Australia exporting wool worth $3 billion in 2015 and accounting for 25% of the total sold on the world market. The wool is produced in large sheep farms in all the states bar the Northern Territory with the total number of wool-producing sheep estimated to reach 70 million in the country.
The horticultural industry is another key player with several fruits and vegetables locally produced being exported including tropical fruits such as mangoes, bananas. and citrus fruits. The country is also exceptional in its export of opium which is produced for use in the pharmaceutical industry and is one of the few legal exporters of the rare commodity. Tubers produced in the country are also exported in high quantities with potatoes being exported to the United States and Japan.
Policies To Promote Exports
The Australian government has always been supportive of the agricultural industry in the country through several policies that create a favorable environment for agricultural practices to thrive. The government has placed subsidies in numerous farm inputs making them affordable to all farmers and making large-scale production a sustainable activity. The government has also reached out to its international partners and established trade deals which place low tariffs in agricultural exports and hence sourcing large international markets for local farmers.