2022-23 agriculture, fisheries, and forestry exports reached $80.4b

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Image credit: Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Australia’s agriculture, fisheries, and forestry (AFF) exports reached a record high of $80.4 billion in the 2022-23 financial year, marking a 17% increase from the previous year

Australian farmers experienced record crop production in 2022-23, driven by increased demand for grain and global supply disruptions, while exporters saw decreased input costs, including fertiliser and freight, compared to the first half of 2022.

China remains Australia’s largest single export market, valued at around $17 billion in 2022-23. Other Asian markets’ market share increased, especially for fast-growing nations in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ($19 billion). In 2022-23, ASEAN’s percentage of Australia’s AFF exports hit a new high (23%). Japan ($6 billion) and the Republic of Korea ($5 billion) also increased their market shares.

The Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) led to a 106% increase in exports to India in 2022, primarily due to tariff benefits and currency fluctuations. The leading commodities were lentils (+220%) and cotton (+19%). The cotton quota was fully utilised in 2023, and sheep meat exports to India exceeded $1 million for the first time. ECTA also substantially increased Australian almond, orange/mandarin, broad bean, and seafood exports.

Adertisement

Starting in 2023, some tariffs were reduced to 0% under existing trade agreements, such as the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA), leading to a 54% volume and 49% value increase in sheep and goat meat exports compared to the previous year.

The value of exports to Indonesia increased by 25% to $4.9 billion in 2022-23, driven by growing bilateral trade. Wheat and cotton exports contributed to the country’s food processing and textile industries. Despite the Foot-and-Mouth Disease and Lumpy Skin Disease outbreaks affecting live cattle exports, concerns about meat safety boosted demand for packaged products, leading to a 33% increase in beef and veal meat exports.

In 2022-23, exporters benefited from high commodity prices, particularly in the following sectors:

  • In response to rising worldwide oil costs, the unit export price of inedible tallow, a significant component in some kinds of biofuel, increased dramatically in 2021-22. This trend continued throughout 2022-23, with an average export price rise of +9%. Australia’s inedible tallow exports crossed $1 billion for the first time.
  • Australian exporters benefited from high global grain prices due to suboptimal production conditions in other major exporting countries. The Black Sea Grain Initiative slowed prices during 2022-23, but the Russian Federation’s withdrawal from the initiative may cause continued elevated prices in 2023-24.
  • Cotton prices reached their peak in the first half of 2022 and remained high over 2022-23 due to global production reductions. Australia’s average unit export price for cotton increased by 31%, making it the 4th most valuable exported commodity in 2022-23. Major export markets include Vietnam, Indonesia, India, and Bangladesh. Economies with established textile industries rely on Australia to meet their cotton demand.

The 2022-23 La Niña event led to increased rainfall, affecting Australian crop production. This resulted in unfavourable conditions for competitors, reducing global supply and higher export prices. Australia became the second-largest wheat exporter in 2022, surpassing Canada and the US. This was due to droughts in the US, EU, and Canada, negatively impacting their wheat production. The USDA predicts further impacts, including a 10% decrease in Canadian wheat production.