Trends in the Australian vegetable growing industry

The report Trends in the Australian vegetable growing industry: 2005-06 to 2012-13 is now available. The report finds that although the Australian vegetable industry has continued growing (in value terms) since the 1990s, the rate of growth has declined since 2005-06 , largely due to production costs outpacing vegetable receipts.

The Australian vegetable growing industry is an important part of Australian agriculture, contributing around 7% ($3.5 billion) of the gross value of agricultural production in 2012–13. The industry’s gross value of production (GVP) has grown since the early 1990s at an annual average rate of 2.5% in real terms. The rate of growth has slowed since 2005–06 as a result of the impacts of drought and increased competition from imports of fresh and processed vegetable products.

Many vegetable growing farms have responded to these challenges by adjusting the scale of their operations, adopting new farm management practices and technologies, and changing the mix of the farm enterprise. At the same time, there have been reductions in the total number of vegetable growers as some have moved into alternative agricultural enterprises or ceased agricultural production. For the remaining growers, the mix of vegetable crops has become more diverse, with a greater range of crops being produced in addition to the more traditional crops of potatoes, onions and tomatoes.

In 1996, the National Vegetable Levy (NVL) was introduced by the Australian Government on behalf of the industry to provide funds for vegetable industry research and development. A range of vegetables incur the NVL including: carrots, pumpkins, sweet corn, peas, beans, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower and capsicum.

The GVP from vegetables covered by the NVL accounted for an estimated 65% of the total GVP for all vegetables in 2012-13.

The annual Australian vegetable survey conducted by ABARES since 2006 was commissioned and partly funded by Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL) using funds obtained from the NVL. In 2013, HAL commissioned ABARES to summarise results from the vegetable survey for NVL-paying vegetable farms—covering around 70% of vegetable growing farms —over the period from 2005–06 to 2011–12, with some physical and financial estimates for 2012–13.

Growers that do not produce any vegetables covered by the NVL (that is, those farms that only grew potatoes, onions or tomatoes) were excluded from the analysis presented in this report.

Results from all vegetable growing farms covered by the latest ABARES survey can be found in Valle et al. (2014).

On average, estimated farm cash income of NVL-paying vegetable farms fluctuated over the survey period . The estimated average farm cash income of $119,000 per NVL-paying farm in 2012–13 was the lowest since ABARES began surveying vegetable growing farms in 2005-06.

Similarly, average farm cash income for all vegetable growing farms declined over the survey period.

To download a copy of the report go to:

Posted 29 July 2014