Opportunities within the agricultural sector are constantly evolving. We see consumers hungry for new products, with changing requirements and expectations for food production – you only have to look at changing attitudes about eating meat to see how quickly things evolve. And that’s one of the reasons I think it’s vital that Australia continues to invest in our emerging agricultural and food production industries.
We have to be nurturing emerging industries and helping them to establish themselves, so that some of our now fledgling industries can make big economic contributions in the near future. It’s indeed key to the Australian agriculture, fisheries and forestry sector meeting the target of $100 billion in farm gate output by 2030.
The challenge for us is however to not create hundreds of new little industries but instead focus on supporting select emerging industries with the capacity to be substantial – that is, with the potential to reach or exceed $10 million annual gross value of production (GVP).
If we look to past success stories for Australian agricultural industries that have emerged, canola is the ultimate example. From a small industry with limited success in Australian conditions, research and development turned canola into an essential major export crop that’s worth well over $1 billion to the economy annually.
Then of course there’s tea tree oil and ginger that AgriFutures Australia has seen progress in the last five years from ‘emerging’ to ‘established’ industries that now each contribute more than $30 million annually in GVP.
And let’s not forget the burgeoning export fodder industry that’s established itself by finding new markets in Asia for our high-quality hay and feed. In 2020 alone Australia exported more than 1.2 million tonnes of fodder, valued at more than half a billion dollars (ABARES).