Industry strengths and capabilities

A strong industry backed by strict regulations

New South Wales is a key part of Australia’s ‘food bowl’, producing a substantial amount of the nation’s food and agricultural goods. The state is home to around 47,000 agricultural businesses, 1,100 aquaculture and fishing businesses and more than 3,800 food and beverage processing companies.

Overall, around 150,000 people were directly employed in the agriculture and food and beverage processing sector in 2015–16, with more than half working in growing and farming industries.

The state’s versatile agriculture and food sector includes:

  • Livestock industries such as cattle, poultry, pigs and sheep
  • Wine, grape and juice industries
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Cereal and legume crops such as wheat barley, canola, rice and chickpeas
  • Aquaculture and seafood
  • Food manufacturers and processors that produce both perishable and non-perishable goods.

Leading companies and brands operating in NSW include Sanitarium, Norco, Sunrice, the Sydney Fish Market and GrainCorp.

The state is also home to a booming viticulture industry. The Hunter Valley, just 1.5 hours from Sydney, was named one of the world’s 10 best wine travel destinations by the American Wine Enthusiast Magazine. The NSW Government works closely with the NSW Wine Industry Association, regional wine associations and individual wineries to encourage the sustainable and profitable development of this industry.


NSW offers an ideal environment for agriculture and food production thanks to its stringent quarantine policies, sound management practices and strict environmental controls. These ensure the state is free of many pests and diseases found in other parts of the world.

The NSW Food Authority runs the state’s world-class regulatory system, to ensure food safety across the entire industry, from primary production to the point of sale to domestic and export markets. It provides high-level, science-based food safety information and access to sector-related expertise. It is also Australia’s first completely integrated or ‘through-chain’ food regulatory agency.