Australian Horticulture Statistics Handbook shows significant increases for fruit and vegetables offset losses for nuts
New data from the latest edition of Australian Horticulture Statistics Handbook 2022/23 shows mixed fortunes for the Australian horticulture sector.
Despite numerous challenges and notable dips in some parts of the industry, the long-term outlook remains strong with total production value increasing by 2.8 per cent to A$16.3bn in 2022/23 (12 months to 30 June 2023).
This overall rise in value was driven by significant increases in the fruit and vegetable categories – which increased 12.6 per cent and 5.4 per cent respectively.
Growing farmgate production value for fruit was driven by large increases in production values for avocados (increasing A$196.9m), table grapes (increasing A$196.4m), bananas (increasing A$81.7m), apples (increasing A$78.4m) and cherries (increasing A$36.1m).
Overall vegetable production values reached a high of A$5.83bn, increasing 5.4 per cent on 2021/22. However, vegetable production volume dropped again in 2022/23 by 3.2 per cent, making it the lowest year for production volume in six years.
Overall nuts ended the 2022/23 year considerably weaker – decreasing by 42 per cent, or down A$527m on 2021/22, to reach A$721.1m. Volume also softened but at a lesser rate (23.7 per cent).
The total value of fresh horticulture exports decreased by 3.4 per cent in 2022/23 to A$2.54bn. Fruit export value increased 6.3 per cent on the previous year, while vegetable export values remained relatively stable dropping just one per cent and nut export value experienced a 15 per cent decrease.
Of the fruits, table grapes and avocados saw the highest year-on-year growth in export values, which increased 28 per cent and 13 per cent respectively on 2021/22 levels. Onions, potatoes, strawberries, and watermelon export values all increased in 2022/23, with potatoes reaching their highest recorded export values.
Hort Innovation chief executive Brett Fifield said the result reflected the resilience of Australian horticulture.
“The value of the horticulture sector grew by A$434.3m over the past year, demonstrating the hard work and passion that our industry has for growing high-quality fresh produce that feeds not only Australians but consumers across the world,” he said
“Growers have faced a myriad of challenges the past few years, including adverse weather events, higher production costs and labour shortages, that have affected profitability.”
The Australian Horticulture Statistics Handbook is released by Hort Innovation each February and captures the previous financial year’s data. The guide includes figures on national and state-level production values and volumes, exports and imports, processing volumes, fresh supply, retail and food service distribution.