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This publication provides a snapshot and trends in the production and overseas trade of vegetables from Western Australia.
WA’s total vegetable crop reached 328 857 tonnes in 2015–16, worth an estimated $490 million. This was a 33% increase in wholesale value from levels of 2011–12.
Quantity increased by 24% during the same period. Production and export of vegetables have experienced strong growth in Western Australia in recent years, predominantly driven by continued expansion of the local carrot sector. There have also been solid gains in the quantity of beans, broccoli, celery and mushrooms produced, underpinning a positive outlook for the industry.
The state’s vegetable growers use sophisticated cropping systems in a range of environments and soil types, which stretch from the tropical north, near latitude 16°S, to the temperate south at 35°S1.
Carrots were WA’s major vegetable crop by value and quantity, with production of about 120 000 tonnes, worth $118m in 2015–16. This represented 24% of the total state vegetable industry’s value. Production growth in the carrot sector was mainly due to strong export sales, worth almost $80m in 2015–16, to key overseas markets.
Sales of $56m made tomatoes the second largest vegetable crop by value with production of 30 320t in 2015–16. Potatoes were second by quantity (42 183t) and third by value ($41m). Beans have had the strongest production growth between 2011–12 and 2015 –16 at 550%. Pumpkin production has seen the biggest contraction in that period, with quantities dropping by about 30%.
Export trends for WA’s vegetable industry have been highly favourable, with the value of this trade increasing 91% (after accounting for inflation) between 2007 to 2017, when it was estimated at $99m. This greatly exceeded a minor 0.2% gain in the value of imported vegetables in the same period — reaching about $10m in 2017. Onions had the strongest growth in export values from 2007 to 2017.
The United Arab Emirates was the highest value export market for WA vegetables. In the 2007–17 period, WA vegetable exports to most Middle Eastern markets experienced higher than average growth. But exports to the major destinations of Singapore and Malaysia fell below average, despite the total value of exports to these destinations increasing in that time. WA’s share of the value of total Australian vegetable exports grew from 35% in 2016 to 41% in 2017.
Increased imports of the high-value vegetables, garlic and asparagus, to WA in recent years, have been outweighed by less onions, capsicum and peas being imported. Garlic had the highest share of vegetable import values at $3m in 2017, or 33% of the total value of all vegetables imported to WA by value, followed by asparagus. Mushrooms had the biggest growth in import value of 1693% between 2007 and 2017.
Major countries supplying vegetables to WA include China, with 34% market share of value, and Mexico at 27%. It is expected there will be continued growth in imports from these markets.
Number of Pages
Vegetables, production, trade, Western Australia
Agricultural and Resource Economics
Radhakrishnan, M, and Prince, R. (2019), Snapshot and trends in the production and overseas trade of vegetables from Western Australia. Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, Perth. Report 4903.
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