NSW Trade Strategy needs the right focus

The state’s agriculture sector stands to grow significantly with the NSW Trade Statement if the right supports are put in place, NSW Farmers President James Jackson says.

The NSW Government’s ambitious trade goal could see exports double in the next 10 years, with agriculture in the box seat to benefit. In 2020, agricultural exports from NSW were worth almost $6 billion, and NSW Farmers is already working on strategies to grow the sector. 

“It’s good to see the NSW Government looking at ways to grow the state’s economy, but we know that ideas alone will not deliver results,” Mr Jackson said.

“Agriculture is a major contributor to exports and we need to focus on the opportunity to diversify our sector and get our produce into new markets at a reasonable price.

“That means solving challenges around port access costs and infrastructure, and avoiding potential land use conflicts.”

According to the Department of Primary Industries, in 2020 the state’s agricultural sector accounted for almost $6 billion – or 10 per cent – of total merchandise exports. Mr Jackson said it was an “engine industry” that brought wealth into our state economy, something that was critical as we look at ways to pay down the immense cost of COVID to the public purse.

NSW farmers are renowned for producing top quality agricultural products, and there are real opportunities to capture additional value through accessing new markets and leveraging our world-class reputation.

“It’s great to have strategies and trade agents abroad, but we also need to make sure we identify new ways to build upon our existing strengths,” Mr Jackson said.

“As NSW Farmers outlined in our Growing Our Food And Fibre Future Plan, we are looking to the future and thinking about what it would take for NSW agriculture to reach $30 billion in farmgate output by 2030.

“One of the fundamental ways governments can support the growth of agriculture is through improving policies that create a predictable and stable investment climate and deal with land use conflicts.”

The NSW Agriculture Commissioner has been working hard in identifying opportunities to improve land use planning and to create a more attractive investment environment for food and fibre businesses in NSW – farmers across the state a looking forward to Minister Marshall releasing this key piece of work and forward reform plans.  

Date: Friday, October 1, 2021
Media Contact:  Stephen Mudd  | 0429 011 690 | mudds@nswfarmers.org.au