Agribusiness and food

Butcher cutting meat

Huge demand for NSW's agriculture and food products

Australia offers investors and exporters a strong comparative advantage in the production of agricultural goods, due to its size, geography, technology and skilled workforce.

Leading agriculture and food companies choose New South Wales because it offers a range of conditions ideal for growing and producing food. The climate is favourable for growing crops. The production environment is well regulated with stringent quarantine policies, environmental controls and sound management practices. The state also provides easy access to Australia’s eastern seaboard and attractive export markets.

This access will be enhanced in 2026 when the new 24-hour Western Sydney Airport, located near the Sydney ‘food bowl’, begins operating. This transformational project will offer food manufacturers and growers unprecedented access to international markets.

Locally, food retailing is the biggest driver of growth in the NSW retail sector. In 2016–17, annual food retail turnover (including supermarkets, grocery stores, liquor stores, cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services) was valued at more than A$51 billion.

Investors choose NSW to position for growth

Smart investors are strongly supporting NSW’s agriculture and food manufacturing industry – positioning themselves to take advantage of increasing consumer and exporter demand in emerging markets.

NSW has a global reputation as a supplier of high-quality fresh, clean, traceable food, characteristics that are increasingly sought among middle-class Asian consumers. High-value imported foods (such as meat, dairy and confectionary) and natural and functional foods (such as organic, sugar-free and gluten-free products) are becoming increasingly popular. Demand is also rising for products in the agricultural supply chain, such as fertiliser.

The numbers illustrate the value of the market. NSW exported about A$9 billion worth of food and agricultural products in 2016–17, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Among the biggest importers were China, the United States, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. In 2016–17, Australia and ASEAN enjoyed A$13.9 billion worth of two-way agribusiness trade.

At the national level, the sector directly contributed about A$53.2 billion in industry value added in 2016–17, including:

  • A$25.4 billion from agricultural production
  • A$1.5 billion from fishing and aquaculture
  • A$26.3 billion from food, beverage and tobacco product processing, which indirectly contributed:
    • A$2.3 billion in agriculture and fishing support services
    • A$8.2 billion in grocery, liquor and tobacco product wholesaling
    • A$22.5 billion from food retailing
    • A$29.8 billion in food and beverage services.