Tasmanian Vegetable Industry ScoreCard: 2004-05

Tasmania's vegetable industry is a very important component of the State's economy. Vegetables represent 18% of the value of agriculture being worth some $164 million at the farm gate. When packed and or processed the value of Tasmania's vegetables is valued at approximately $352 million pa.

Tasmania is produces a large net surplus of vegetables and the resultant sales earn valuable income for the State. The net value of all sales that includes domestic sales in Tasmania ($301 million) and interstate transfers ($259 million) and overseas exports ($22 million) equalling total sales of some $579 million pa.

The industry is very reliant on domestic markets where some 93% of the product is sold. Less than 7% of vegetables (representing $22 million) are exported directly from Tasmania to overseas countries. Mainland States are by far the major market. They account for 73% of net sales. The remaining 20% of product is sold within the State.

These figures highlight the impact of domestic marketing issues that are currently prevailing in Tasmania's vegetable industry - supermarket power, overseas imports country of origin labelling etc.
Tasmanian Vegetable Industry

Interstate Trade is estimated on a net trade balance basis. While Tasmania might sell produce interstate and purchase goods from interstate at the same time, it is only possible to calculate the net trade according to the following formula:
Net Interstate Trade = Total production - Exports + Imports - Domestic Consumption

Food Revenue is calculated as:
Gross Food Revenue = Overseas Exports + Interstate sales + Retail Sales (in Tas) + Food Service Sales (in Tas)
Net Food Revenue = Gross Food Revenue - Overseas Imports - Interstate Imports

Major features of the vegetable industry

  • Potatoes, onions, beans, peas, carrots and broccoli account of the majority (88%) of vegetables produced.
  • Potatoes are by far the largest component of the vegetable industry (almost half of farm sales) and once packed and processed they account for 56% of sales. Interstate sales of processed potatoes ($172 million) represent 66% of net interstate sales. Less than 1% of potatoes are exported. Clearly the vegetable industry is very dependent on the sale of processed potatoes in the domestic market.
  • Processed beans and peas represent 10% of vegetable sales ex farm but 14% of sales ex factory. Again mainland markets are very important accounting for some $46 million of net State sales or 18% of total vegetable sales at the wholesale/export point. No peas or beans are exported.
  • Production of onions represents 15% of vegetables ex farm and 8% ex pack-house. However onions represent some 77% of vegetable exports.
  • Production of carrots and broccoli has increased markedly over recent years and now account for 18% of farm sales or 13% of sales ex packing house. Surprisingly domestic markets account for some 89% of sales of carrots and broccoli (only 11% are exported) and carrots represent the vast majority of those sales.
  • Data for the remaining categories of vegetables has become difficult to obtain for a number of reasons eg mushroom data is not published for confidentiality reasons and data for a number of minor vegetables (eg cabbages, brussel sprouts, and swedes) was not reported.
  • Total net trade (interstate, overseas exports less imports) in vegetables is $278 million, reflecting the importance of vegetable production to the State's trade revenue. This is in market contrast to the total Australian vegetable trade as Australia is now a net importer of vegetables (imports exceeded imports by $150 million in 2004 - 05).

Comparison with previous year

Between the 2003-04 and 2004-05 financial years:

  • Gross value of vegetable production at the farm gate decreased by $15 million. A $10 million decrease in onions returns was a major contributor to the decline in returns from vegetable production.
  • The packed and processed value of vegetables fell $25.6 million.
  • Total net revenue from vegetable production increased by $5 million. Key features were:
  • O/S vegetable exports decreased by $7.5 million. Exports of potatoes fell $5.5 million. Although the volume of onion exports increased, the price realised was lower. The resultant return was similar to that achieved in 2003-04. There was a small increase in exports of carrots (+$0.8 million).
  • O/S imports were static at $3.6 million.
  • Net interstate trade decreased by $3.7 million.
  • Total net trade (interstate, overseas exports less imports) in vegetables was $278.2 million compared with $289.5 million in 2003-04.
  • Tasmanian retail and food service sales increased by $15 million mainly due to 3,000 more people living in State and continued strong tourism, reflecting in increased sales by supermarkets, grocery stores, restaurants and cafe's.

Trends in Production, Area, Yields and Value

Vegetables are produced on some 17,000 hectares. In total Tasmania produces a approximately 8% of Australia's vegetables at the farm gate point. Tasmanian production accounts for a large proportion of Australia's potatoes (25%), onions (28%), beans (40%) and all the processing peas (95%).

A great feature and strength of vegetable production in Tasmania is the consistency of supply and yields achieved. Grower contracts by processors and exporters, a reliable rainfall supplemented by irrigation and improved management strategies all play a role in achieving good and consistent yields and this has underpinned customer confidence in the Tasmania vegetable industry as a reliable supplier of quality produce.

Vegetable trend graphs

  Gross Value, Area and Quantity of Vegetables Grown in Tasmania   (18Kb)

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Further Information


Agricultural Economist
Mary Bennett
GPO Box 44
Hobart TAS 7001
Phone: 03 6165 3163
Email: Mary.Bennett@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

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