Manufacturing News

Food sector prominent in latest export growth figures

The food and agricultural sectors have filled 11 positions in a list of the nation’s top 20 industries by growth in exports over the five years through 2015-16.

IBISWorld compiled the list against the backdrop of Australia’s recently-signed free trade agreements.

According to IBISWorld, the top 20 exporting industries by growth in merchandise exports, excluding services, are estimated to be worth $22.3 billion in 2015-16. Merchandise trade, which excludes services, across all industries has been calculated by IBISWorld to be worth $260.6 billion to the Australian economy, or 15.7% of GDP.

“Analysis conducted by IBISWorld shows that the top 20 fastest-growing exports will rise between 10.6% and 36.3% annualised over the five years through 2015-16,” said Ms Jem Anning, IBISWorld Senior Industry Analyst.

Four of the notable industries in the top 20 list include Rice Growing, Seafood Processing, Grape Growing, and Cider Production.

Rice bowl of Asia

Accounting for 61.5% of industry revenue in 2015-16, Australian rice exports are an incredibly important part of the Rice Growing industry. The industry is estimated to generate revenue of more than $619 million in 2015-16, which has increased at an annualised 29.5% over the past five years. By 2020-21, the value of rice exports is anticipated to be $468.1 million, up from $380.7 million in 2015-16.

Overseas markets hooked

Exports in the Seafood Processing industry are forecast to have grown by an annualised 27.3% over the five years through 2015-16 to account for 75.4% of industry revenue in 2015-16.

IBISWorld found rising imports have encouraged domestic seafood producers to focus on exports by capitalising on growing economic prosperity and rising disposable incomes in many Asian nations.

Most significantly, Vietnam is the main destination for Australian seafood exports, representing 62.6% of total exports. IBISWorld found that exports to Vietnam, particularly rock lobster and abalone, have grown rapidly over the four years through 2014-15.

Low hanging fruit

The Grape Growing industry has enjoyed substantial growth in exports over the past five years. In 2010-11, grape exports represented 8.4% of revenue, a figure that IBISWorld anticipates will more than triple to 26.8% by 2020-21.

IBISWorld highlighted that overall industry performance is not reflective of the strong performance of table grapes, as wine grapes make up the vast majority of industry revenue at 67.6%.

Bubbling away

Australia’s historic cider producers have enjoyed buoyant export growth over the last five years. Exports made up an estimated 2.9% share of revenue in 2010-11, and are anticipated to reach 5.5% by 2020-21. In the years 2010-11 to 2015-16, IBISWorld calculated export growth to be 25.8% annualised and valued exports at $16.5 million in 2015-16.

Top 20 industries by export growth 2010-11 through 2015-16

Industry 2015-2016 Growth  


Five-year export growth to 2015-16 


Value of exports 2015-16  

$ millions

Prefabricated Wooden Building Manufacturing in Australia -5.6 36.3 32.9
Bauxite Mining in Australia 7.3 33.8 1006.8
Rice Growing in Australia -4.7 29.5 380.7
Seafood Processing in Australia 12.9 27.3 1008.9
Grape Growing in Australia 13.3 26.6 285.3
Cider Production in Australia 6.6 25.8 16.5
Health Snack Food Production in Australia 45.6 21.0 36.0
Non-Ferrous Metal Casting in Australia -72.4 19.5 0.5
Beef Cattle Farming in Australia 18.6 19.0 1615.6
Citrus, Banana and Other Fruit Growing in Australia -0.7 17.5 429.7
Carbon Dioxide Production in Australia 3.1 16.8 2.9
Structural Steel Fabricating in Australia 5.0 16.2 159.6
Aircraft Manufacturing and Repair Services in Australia 8.4 15.6 2060.7
Toy and Sporting Good Manufacturing in Australia 6.6 15.4 205.0
Hay and Other Crop Growing in Australia 8.9 14.9 228.6
Mattress Manufacturing in Australia 4.1 14.8 4.5
Milk and Cream Processing in Australia 4.7 14.2 272.0
Meat Processing in Australia 2.9 13.3 14134.0
Vitamin and Supplement Manufacturing in Australia 9.9 13.2 365.0
Apple, Pear and Stone Fruit Growing in Australia 6.3 10.6 84.7

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