DESPITE facing labour issues and competition from frozen imported competitors, Australian vegetable growers have seen an increase in cash income in the past year.
The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) recently released its Australian vegetable-growing farms: an economic survey 2016–17 and 2017–18 report which showed a 12 per cent increase in cash income for Australian vegetable farms to $319,000 per farm in 2017-18.
This was the highest average in real terms since ABARES began surveying vegetable-growing farms in 2007.
ABARES executive director, Dr Steve Hatfield-Dodds, said average farm cash income increased in all states, except Qld and WA.
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“ABARES estimates the average rate of return of Australian vegetable-growing farms was 5.9pc in 2017–18, following an average return of 4.9pc in 2016–17,” Dr Hatfield-Dodds said.
“Average farm debt decreased by 20pc to around $438,000 per farm in 2016–17, mainly because of reduced working capital debt, and around one-quarter of vegetable-growing farms held no debt in 2016–17.
“Australian vegetable growers made a total of $319 million in new investment, with around half of vegetable-growing farms making capital additions in 2016–17.
“Vegetable growing is our fourth-highest agricultural industry, and made up 6 percent—or $3.9 billion—of the gross value of agricultural production in 2016-17.
“It is big business for Australia, and especially in Qld and Victoria which combined, account for 57pc of the total value of vegetable production in 2016-17.”
ABARES has conducted an annual survey of vegetable-growing businesses since 2007 to inform industry and government about farm-level production, and provide a financial overview of the industry.
This project was funded by Hort Innovation, using the Vegetable Fund research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government.
- See the full ABARES report here: www.agriculture.gov.au/abares/research-topics/surveys