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Ian Smith

Ian Smith

Director, NSW Office of Regional Economic Development

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International brands, growing markets

International brands, growing markets

Regional NSW is a significant producer of agricultural commodities and value-added food and beverage products, due to its highly productive farmland and diverse growing conditions.

The agribusiness sector in Regional NSW employed over 99,000 people and contributed A$9 billion to the economy in 2014-15. 75% of NSW land mass is used for agriculture and 80% of all water extracted under water-sharing plans is diverted to agricultural production. The State produces 99% of national rice output, 59% of cotton and 36% of wheat.

Regional NSW supplies agricultural commodities, food and beverages to the world’s largest and growing consumer markets in Asia, the Pacific Rim and Europe. Its counter-seasonality makes it an ideal supplier of fresh produce during the winter months in the northern hemisphere.

Regional NSW has a workforce experienced in agricultural production and processing, and established agribusiness transport, distribution and logistics infrastructure.

Australia’s excellent access to growing international markets through its extensive Free Trade Agreements ensures continued demand, driving future growth and expansion.

The Australian agriculture industry is estimated to require A$109.2 billion of overseas investment by 2025 to maintain its current share of world exports. Successful investment models include joint ventures and share farming, with local producers allied to overseas participants in the supply chain.

Top 10 export destinations for Australian food and fibre (2015-16)

Chart showing Top 10 export destinations for Australian food and fibre 2015 to 2016

Chart showing Top 10 export destinations for Australian food and fibre 2015 to 2016

Source: Austrade 2017, Why Australia Benchmark Report 2017.

Established Agribusinesses

Diverse products

Regional NSW enjoys a diverse climate and geography which produces a wide range of goods:

  • primary crops such as nuts, berries, other horticulture, grains, cotton, oilseeds and pulses

  • primary livestock, particularly sheep, beef cattle, goats and poultry

  • aquaculture, fishing and seaweed farming

  • livestock product manufacturing

  • processed food, olive oil and dairy

  • beverage manufacturing, including wine, craft beer and spirits.

Top 10 Australian agricultural commodities by production value

Chart showing the top 10 Australian agricultural commodities by production value

Chart showing the top 10 Australian agricultural commodities by production value

Source: Austrade 2017, Why Australia Benchmark Report 2017.

Food safety

Food safety

Australia and NSW enjoy an international reputation for high food safety standards and clean, safe foods.

The NSW Food Authority administers a fully-integrated food safety system. Sound quarantine and environmental practices used throughout NSW keep production free from pests, diseases and contaminants.

Innovation and collaboration

Innovation and collaboration

World-leading technology hubs and research facilities across NSW bring together industry, academia and government to commercialise new and innovative products and processes.

Australia occupies a pre-eminent place in global Agricultural Technology research, with nine of the top 100 life science universities in the world, including three in NSW.

In 2013-14, NSW agribusinesses spent over A$32 million on research and development (R&D), while food production manufacturers spent A$215 million on R&D.  The NSW Government allocated over A$1.1 billion for R&D and important regional services.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is the largest agricultural research and development provider in Australia with 25 research stations across NSW, 650 scientific staff and a A$166 million budget. DPI has earned a place in the top 1% of global research organisations in agriculture, plant and animal sciences. DPI aims to increase the gross value of NSW agricultural production by 30% by 2020.  

Investors in Regional NSW can also benefit from a number of agriculture and food innovation precincts including:

  • New England Agtech Cluster in Armidale is backed by the NSW Government and underpinned by the University of New England.

  • Wagga Wagga’s agricultural technology hub involves Agrifutures Australia, the Graham Centre and Charles Sturt University.

  • Orange’s Global Agri-Tech Ecosystem (GATE) offers access to DPI expertise and networks as the largest agricultural research and development provider in Australia.  GATE is an end-to-end ecosystem for project development from ideation, incubation, acceleration to investor funding and commercialisation. GATE has a cornerstone partnership with SparkLabsCultiv8 linked to Asia's premier accelerator SparkLabs in South Korea.

  • Central Coast Food Innovation Cluster joins the University of Newcastle and key industry players to collaborate on research projects relevant to the food and beverage industry.  

Subsectors (refer GVA explanatory note on Contact and Resources page)

  • Primary crops (fruit, vegetables, grains, floriculture)

    Primary crops are a strength for almost every region in NSW. 

     

    Primary crops 2014-15 GVA

    Chart showing the primary crops from 2014 to 2015, determined by GVA

    Chart showing the primary crops from 2014 to 2015, determined by GVA

  • Primary livestock

    Cattle and sheep farming have formed a key pillar of the Regional NSW economy for many generations, and the industry is well-positioned to continue its growth.

     

    Primary livestock 2014-15 GVA

    Chart showing the primary livestock from 2014 to 2015, determined by GVA

    Chart showing the primary livestock from 2014 to 2015, determined by GVA

  • Aquaculture and fishing

    Regional NSW has a healthy aquaculture and fishing sector, with opportunities for export as well as servicing the domestic market.

     

    Aquaculture and fishing 2014-15 GVA

    Chart showing the primary aquaculture and fishing from 2014 to 2015 determined by GVA

    Chart showing the primary aquaculture and fishing from 2014 to 2015 determined by GVA

  • Livestock and related products

    Regional NSW’s thriving livestock industry  supports a network of businesses in secondary meat and livestock product manufacturing. Goat farming is a strong emerging industry in the West.


    Livestock and related products 2014-15 GVA

    Chart showing the primary livestock and related products from 2014 to 2015 determined by GVA

    Chart showing the primary livestock and related products from 2014 to 2015 determined by GVA

  • Processed food and dairy

    A sophisticated processed food industry adds value to livestock and dairy produce. NSW is Australia's second largest producer of dairy products. Its range of climatic conditions is wider than any other Australian dairy region and is a distinct advantage, guaranteeing milk supply during extreme weather.

     

    Processed food and dairy 2014-15 GVA

    Chart showing the primary processed food and dairy from 2014 to 2015 determined by GVA

    Chart showing the primary processed food and dairy from 2014 to 2015 determined by GVA

  • Food product manufacturing

    Regional NSW is recognised as an advanced producer of high quality food products, with 2000 food manufacturing and processing businesses.  Companies spent A$171 million on research and development.

    A growing middle class in the Asia-Pacific region provides exciting export growth potential, in addition to supplying the domestic market. Overall, agrifood contributed A$33 billion to the NSW economy in 2014 and employed 140,000 people.

     

    Food product manufacturing 2014-15 GVA

    Chart showing the primary food product manufacturing from 2014 to 2015 determined by GVA

    Chart showing the primary food product manufacturing from 2014 to 2015 determined by GVA

  • Wine and beverage manufacturing

    Regional NSW produces some of the world’s best wines, and a variety of other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.


    Beverage manufacturing, including wine 2014-15 GVA

    Chart showing the primary beverage manufacturing, including wine from 2014 to 2015 determined by GVA

    Chart showing the primary beverage manufacturing, including wine from 2014 to 2015 determined by GVA

Sector support

NSW has strong regulatory standards. This ensures food and produce of very high quality, which is valued in Asian markets.

The NSW Government invested $1.1 billion in research and development in 2013-14 for the agriculture, biotechnology, fisheries, functional foods and genomics sectors. 

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is building a state-of-the-art agricultural research facility near Boorowa, NSW. The Australian Government has also invested in the Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre (Food Innovation Australia Ltd), which supports collaboration and innovation to grow the share of Australian food in the global marketplace.

For more details, visit the assistance page.

Australia’s top agricultural commodity exports, year ending September 2016

Chart showing Australia’s top agricultural commodity exports for the year ending September 2016

Chart showing Australia’s top agricultural commodity exports for the year ending September 2016

Source: Austrade 2017, Why Australia Benchmark Report 2017.

 Page image credits: Amber Hooper Photography, Mars Australia, Destination NSW & The Graham Centre

Success stories

Wagga Wagga AgTech Cluster
Wagga Wagga AgTech Cluster

Located on the Murrumbidgee River, Wagga Wagga has a growing reputation for international agricultural research, education and technology commercialisation based on its cluster of AgTech research centres, industry groups and businesses.

The Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, an Australian Centre of Excellence for innovation in grain and red meat production and value adding, is part of the hub. Established in 2005, the Graham Centre is a research alliance between the NSW Department of Primary Industries and Charles Sturt University.

It offers partnering opportunities with growers, producers, industry and researchers, supported by world-class facilities to improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of grain and red meat value chains. It has strong international ties, particularly with Pakistan, India, China, South East Asia and the Philippines.

Other centres at the hub include the Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute, the NSW Centre of Excellence for Southern Farming Systems and Viticulture, and the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre. Wagga Wagga’s cluster has successfully attracted established centres from other parts of Australia, such as the national AgriFutures Australia.

AgriFutures Australia works with industry to invest in research and development for a more profitable, sustainable and dynamic rural sector. Its public investments in rural research and development aim to increase knowledge and understanding fostering innovative, adaptable and valuable rural industries.

Murray River Organics
Murray River Organics

Established in 2010, Murray River Organics (MRO) is pioneering large-scale organic and sustainable processes to deliver high quality Australian food products to global consumers. MRO controls over 4,400 acres of certified organic farmland and a certified organic processing facility.

Vertical integration of their product lines through integrated farming, processing, packing, product innovation and marketing operations, ensures MRO can provide certified organic and natural food products to a global market.

MRO has offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Europe, USA, Japan and China. Proprietary brands include Premium Australian Clusters, Pacific Organics, Gobble and Nutritious Foods, as well as with private label offerings.

Lowes TC
Lowes TC

Headquartered on the NSW Central Coast for over 20 years with facilities in India and Ireland, Lowes TC now sells over 3.5 million live plants every year internationally. 

Lowes relies on the local university and technical college (TAFE NSW) for skilled research staff to develop new plant varieties for landscaping, food production and home gardening.

Central Coast transportation companies and its transport infrastructure ensures that Lowes can successfully transport plants to its international customer base.

Managing Director Simon Pettinger says "the future of our business will be run out of the Central Coast forever as far as I can see, there’d be no reason to leave. Why go to such expense when the commercial space is highly affordable, the people are highly skilled and very committed to your business and their work.”

Get in touch

Ian Smith

Director, NSW Office of Regional Economic Development
Office contacts
T: +61 1300 679 673
E: info@investregional.nsw.gov.au
Suite 1, Level 1
47-59 Wingewarra Street
DUBBO NSW 2830