Asian markets were the major export destination
Nurseries, nuts, table grapes and oranges key NSW growth industries
At the date of publication, detailed industry information is not available, consequently the following production commentary analyses 2016–17 Industry trends.
The horticulture sector, which is made up of a diverse range of fruit, vegetable, nurseries, cut flowers and turf industries, had a mixed year as a result of seasonal conditions. The nurseries and vegetable industries had a bumper year with output growth of 101% and 21%, while the combined fruit and nut industries had varied results with output growth of 19%. The combined horticulture sector contributes approximately 10% of total output.
Nurseries experienced dramatic growth, with undercover hectares increasing by 55%. Output more than doubled to reach $294 million. The health benefits and home décor trend of indoor plants saw demand spike domestically, which contributed to the nurseries industry growth9, 75.
Citrus remained the largest single fruit or vegetable industry, with oranges the main contributor. Citrus faced a tough production season with extreme weather, including hail and heat waves, resulting in orange production declining by 7%. However, increased international demand, particularly from China, pushed values up by 39%.
The nut industry has seen huge growth of 215% since 2013–14. In this timeframe, macadamia production increased 25% and its value more than doubled, with the farm gate value of the industry in Richmond-Tweed region surpassing beef production in the region64, 68.
Almond production value has grown by over 400% since 2013–14, with the number of trees of bearing age increasing from 165,000 to over 1 million. This prolific growth was on the back of strong domestic and international demand, particularly from Asia11.
The vegetable industry had a very promising increase in value of 21% year-on-year11. The mushroom and melon industries both had significant increases in production of 19% and 45%, which resulted in healthy increases in their output by 27% and 43% respectively. Smaller vegetable industries such as beans, broccoli and sweet corn had good seasons with significant increases in areas planted, production and values10.
Horticulture exports grew at a rapid pace to reach $365 million, an increase of 36% over the five-year moving average. Asian markets were the major destination for NSW horticulture products, with 74% of all exports by value arriving in these markets54.
Nuts were the largest horticulture export making up 48% of total exports by value54, with rising incomes and the increasing awareness of the health benefits of nut consumption driving demand.
Other significant exports included citrus, table grapes, plums, cherries and potatoes, which together made up 20% of all exports by value54.
|Region||2017-18 Export Value||5yr Avg. Export Value|
|Africa & Sth. America||$2m||$2m|
New trade agreements between Australia and China allowed further market access for some fruit including peaches, plums and apricots. These agreements also revised fumigation and cold-treatment protocols for table grapes and recognised Australia’s pest free regions for citrus and cherries.
NSW produce is renowned for its food quality, safety and rigid biosecurity standards, which has provided a competitive advantage over other countries, in particular when exporting to Asia. Biosecurity threats and incidents can have a huge impact on the food produce industry’s export market, such as the outbreak of canker citrus disease (which causes unsightly fruit) discovered in northern Australia in April 201829, 74.
In the medium term, world supply for nuts is expected to finally catch up with demand and prices will start to fall. A future challenge for nut growers will be to maintain international competitiveness particularly when production costs and in particular irrigation water are expected to rise2.