Queensland’s agriculture industry has largely maintained its production value despite a fifth year of significant drought, a new report has found.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the Queensland AgTrends 2018–19 report revealed production over the last year was in line with the five year average.
Mr Furner said Queensland’s primary industry products were doing well to maintain their value despite the challenges posed by the prolonged drought.
“Currently, 58.1 per cent of Queensland is officially drought-declared and the probability of exceeding median rainfall until January 2019 is low for much of Queensland,” Mr Furner said.
“The continuing dry conditions are a major influence on the chance of exceeding median growth particularly for the major cropping regions and extensive grazing lands of the state.”
The State Government has supported the agriculture sector with more than $670 million invested to help communities since the drought began.
“We’re continuing to back our primary producers by helping them to innovate and grow, through initiatives such as Rural Economic Development grants and research conducted by the Drought and Climate Adaption Program,” Mr Furner said.
The report found that the fruit and nuts sector was the star performer of the year, according to the AgTrends report, with outcomes higher than both Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) forecasts for 2017–18 and the five year averages.
“The fruit and nuts sector has bucked the overall trend with a forecast increase in its gross value of production (GVP) to $1.9 billion, which is five per cent higher than DAF’s final forecast for 2017–18 and 15 per cent higher than the average for the past five years,” Mr Furner said.
“Other sectors to show increases in both the DAF forecast for 2017-18 and the five year average include poultry, vegetables, seafood and wool.”
2018–19 GVP for the cattle and calf industry is forecast to be $5.05 billion which is six per cent lower than the final estimate for 2017–18 and three per cent lower than the average for the past five years, with drought a key factor.
Mr Furner said the report showed that Queensland’s primary industries contribute significantly to the state’s economy.
“For 2018–19, the GVP of Queensland’s primary industry commodities at the ‘farm gate’ is forecast to be $14.65 billion,” Mr Furner said.
“Although that is 5 per cent less than 2017–18, it is about the same as the average for the past five years.
“That trend is repeated for the total value of Queensland’s primary industry commodities, which combines the GVP and first-stage processing, for 2018–19 which is forecast to be $18.54 billion.”
The forecasts will be updated in April 2019.