According to the country’s annual food statistics report, Australia exported more than AU$30.5 billion worth of food in 2011–12, up 12.3% on the 2010-11 figures and the highest value since 2001–02. Live animal exports were down AU$137m in 2011–12, but meat exports were up AU$218m from AU$6,983m in 2010/11 to AU$7,201m in 2011/12.
The report showed that, overall, the value of food exported from Australia has increased by 30.3% between 2006–07 and 2011–12.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Joe Ludwig said: "Australia has a reputation for providing high-quality, safe and nutritious food, and we have a strong position as a food-producing nation, both locally and globally."
Japan held on to its position as the largest destination for Australian food exports, with a share of 14.5% in 2011/12, although the report stated that "this share has declined substantially over the past decade". It added that other north Asian markets were increasingly important for Australian food, with the combined share of north Asian countries representing 34% of the total last year.
"With more than 50% of Australia’s food exports going to Asia in 2011–12, we are well on our way to taking advantage of increasing opportunities," said Ludwig.
The total value of Australia’s farm and fish production also increased 3.4% year-on-year to AU$42.6bn in 2011–12. "There have been ups and downs, but overall that’s an increase of 31% since 2006–07 when we were experiencing severe drought," said Ludwig.
However, livestock slaughtering decreased by 0.5% and total livestock products (including eggs and milk) fell from from AU$18.299m in 2010/11 to AU$18.289m in 2011/12.