Food and beverages shone as Tasmanian exports surged in 2015

Food and beverage led the way in a surge in overall exports from Tasmania last year.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures for the year to January found meat exports increased 46 per cent, seafood 68 per cent, and fruit and vegetables 44 per cent. Wood and woodchips also stood out, up 75 per cent for the period, reports The Mercury.

The result was weakened by lower demand for minerals, though it was still the second-biggest expansion in exports by state last year, following Queensland.

Resources are a major export for the state. For the year to June 2015, Tasmania’s number one and two exports were processed metals and metal products, and ores and concentrates, according to the department of state growth.

The monthly average value of all exports was $216.2 million last year.

Elsewhere, The Advocate reports that overall merchandise exports were up $14 million in January.

January was also the first month of the federal government’s Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme, worth $203 million over four years.

A Tasmanian federal Liberal MP, Brett Whiteley, said it was “no coincidence”, citing the scheme and new free trade agreements.

''This government’s reforms have always been about enabling businesses to get their goods to market cheaper, to grow and to employ more Tasmanians,” he said.

''We need to have the market conditions in place for Tasmanian businesses to take full advantage of the new free trade agreements and the freight subsidy expansion.''