Qld agriculture makes record contribution

FORECAST: Acting agriculture minister Bill Byrne says the value of Queensland agriculture is forecast to be $18.55 billion for 2016-17.IT may be regarded as the Palaszczuk government’s most junior portfolio butQueensland’s agriculture sector is continuing to make a record contribution to the state’s economy.

Forecasts released by actingagriculture ministerBill Byrne in parliament today shows the value of primary industry commodities for 2016-17 is on target to grow by 6 per cent.

“Previous Agtrends forecasts have highlighted impressive growth in the value of production in Queensland over the past two years, growth achieved during, and in spite of, a record drought,” Mr Byrne said.

“The total value for 2016-17 is now forecast to be $18.55 billion.

“That is a full 15pcgreater than the average for the past five years.”

Mr Byrne –who has been brought in to manage the agriculture and fisheries portfolios following the shock resignation of disgraced former minister Leanne Donaldson – paid tribute to producers and singled out a number of star performers, including avocados, macadamias, cotton and chickpeas.

“Queensland’s avocado producers have responded to demand and the GVP is now forecast to be $225 million for 2016-17 – 49pchigher than DAF’s final estimate for 2015-16,” he said.

“The GVP for Queensland mandarins is forecast to grow by 30pc, mangoes by 23pcand macadamias by 17pc. The forecast for macadamias is, at $140m, 97pcgreater than the average for the past five years.

“In the year to September 2016, the value of cotton exports from Queensland soared by 90pc- from $406mto $770m.

“Queensland cotton is clearly in demand overseas and its performance has been eclipsed by chickpeas.

“Queensland producers have responded to increase demand overseas, driving a 176% rise in export values in the year to September – worth $649 million, up from $235 million just a year ago.”

Mr Byrne said it was inevitable that some sectors of the industry were doing better than others but it was great news that the food and fibre industry continued to increase its contribution to the state’s economy.

“Queensland agriculture as a whole is clearly in very fine fettle and the Palaszczuk government will continue to support our farmers to maintain their invaluable contribution to our economy,” he said.

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