Historically, agriculture has been one of the largest industries in Australia in terms of both crop and animal products. The state of Victoria, in particular, contributes to over $14 billion worth of agricultural produce annually. This makes it the largest producer of agricultural products in Australia. Victorian agriculture also occupies over 10 million hectares of land with over 21,000 farm businesses creating over 70,000 Victorian Farm Jobs.
In the last decade, the farming industry in Victoria has grown tremendously. This is due to the significant growth in demand for Victorian agricultural products both locally and internationally. By 2025, Victoria expects to be one of the most recognized exporters of agricultural products in the international market. Here are five farm industries that are booming in Victoria:
- Horticulture Industry
Victoria’s horticulture is one of the major farm industries in Australia accounting for over 30 percent of Australia’s horticultural produce. It consists of several industries namely the vegetable, the fruit, and the nuts industry among others.
The fresh and dried fruit industry is the largest contributor to horticultural export produce in Victoria with Almonds being the most valuable Victorian fresh produce. Examples of other fresh products from Victoria include pears, apples, olive, cherries, table grapes, summer-fruit, and citrus.
Victoria’s vegetable industry is the second largest in Australia and accounts for about half of the horticulture exports nationally. In total, Victoria’s horticulture has over 3,500 farm businesses, covers over 100 hectares of land, and production value of over $1.5 billion.
- Food and fiber production and manufacturing Industries
The state of Victoria accounts for almost 30 percent of the total Australian food and fiber exports. Victorian food and fiber exports also account for almost half of Victoria’s top 100 exports with 8 out of 10 of its food and fiber export markets located in Asia. Additionally, The state accounts for 32 percent of processed foods in comparison to other states in Australia.
In the period 2017-18, Victoria’s food and fiber industries reached a record of $14.1 billion in exports, $10.2 billion from the food industry, and $3.9 from the fiber industry. In 2018-19 the state’s food and fiber exports increased by $98 million to $14.2 billion. The state also employed a total of 199,600 people in the food and fiber production and manufacturing industries.
- Aquaculture Industry
Victoria’s aquaculture industry has been active for more than 20 years and is an important recreational, cultural, and commercial activity in Victoria. Aquaculture is also a major contributor to the Victorian economy with over $2.3 billion annually.
In the period 2016-2017 Victoria’s aquaculture employed 16,000 people and an additional 1000 people the following year due to an increase in the fishing workforce. Victorian fishing is carried out in various inland, coastal and offshore facilities and produces yabby, aquarium finfish, barramundi, abalone, Murray cod, blue mussel, and trout. In terms of commercial fishing, Victoria has more than 100 aquaculture and 600 commercial licenses.
- Livestock Industry
Victoria’s livestock consists of beef cattle, poultry, pig, sheep, goat among others. The state produces a variety of livestock products with various regions specializing in various livestock products. For example, the Gippsland region has the highest number of goats and also majors in egg production. Loddon Campaspe, on the other hand, leads in pork production in Victoria.
There are a total of over 22.1 million animals spread in over 28,000 livestock farm businesses in the state.
Although beef production cuts across all the regions in Victoria, it is mainly produced in Gippsland, Goulburn, Ovens Murray, and Western District regions.
Like beef production, sheep meat and wool production also cut across all the regions in Victoria however it is mainly produced in the North West, South West, Hume Bendigo, and Warrnambool regions. Goat meat production industry, on the other hand, accounts for a total of $97 million worth of goat products exported globally.
Victoria’s chicken meat and egg production account for 243,000 tonnes of chicken meat and 78 million dozen eggs from a total of about 3.7 million birds.
In total Victoria’s livestock industry accounts for meat production worth $4.3 billion, eggs worth $150 million, and wool worth over 650 million.
- Grain industry
The Victorian grain industry has over 6500 farm businesses that cover over 3 million hectares of land. Wheat, Canola, Oats Barley and Lentils are some of the crops grown in Victoria. Also, farmers cut grain crops for hay. In 2017-18, the state of Victoria recorded $1.5 billion worth of grain exports with China being their largest market.
The future of Victoria’s grain farmers is promising. According to research, grain production is expected to double in 2019-20. This estimation was based on the fact that there was timely and sufficient rainfall in the grain production regions.
Wheat production is expected to increase to 3.6 million tonnes an 85 percent increase from the previous year. Barley is expected to increase by 127% to 2.5 million tonnes whereas Canola is expected to increase to 650,000 tonnes in the 2019-20 period.