SA food industry celebrates record $3.5 billion

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 14th October 2010

The South Australian food industry has achieved new records for gross revenue and the total value of production.

Agriculture and Food Minister Michael O’Brien said new figures show the sector was worth $3.5 billion in 2009-10, up seven percent to a new record high.

O’Brien said the state’s Gross Food Revenue, an indicator of domestic consumption and exports, also reached a record high of $12.4 billion. Gross Food Revenue captures all food sales that have occurred within South Australia, including commodity and finished food products that have been sold for domestic consumption, exported interstate or overseas.

O’Brien said the “outstanding” results were achieved despite the ongoing challenges of a high Australian dollar, the aftermath of the global financial crisis and slow retail growth across all sectors.

“Despite the high Australian dollar, food imports from overseas decreased by 3.3 percent, highlighting the fact that our local food industry is catering to the demands of domestic consumers,” he said.

“Further to this, interstate sales and stocks were up by 23 percent to more than $2.1 billion, with a decrease in food imports into the state of 3.3 percent.

“This indicates our state’s food industry is experiencing success in producing food and adding value to quality products that are sought after by consumers across the nation.”

O’Brien said the annual Primary Industries and Resources SA (PIRSA) Food Scorecard highlights the importance of the food industry.

“Good seasonal growing conditions have resulted in record highs for South Australian food production,” he said. “In the last year we have experienced significant growth in grain production, with the second highest crop on record. Livestock and horticulture industries have also seen modest improvements.”

O’Brien said the strong performance of these industries, through value-adding initiatives, had also contributed to $122 million growth in the value of finished foods (up three percent), to $4.6 billion.

“Strong global and domestic demand for South Australian red meat has contributed to growth in farming output and finished food value adding,” he said.

The scorecard shows that challenges cause by the fluctuating Australian dollar saw a drop-off in export demand and the prices of some food products.

According to O’Brien, the figures also show that concerns over food security in South Australia are largely unfounded.

“I have every confidence that South Australia will continue to be a net exporter of food,” he said.