CANBERRA, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- Beef and live cattle represent Australia's biggest agricultural exports for the first time, a report has found.
The report, released by the Rural Bank on Monday, revealed that beef and live cattle exports were worth 8.6 billion U.S. dollars of Australia's total agricultural exports of 34.7 billion U.S. dollars in the financial year ending in 2016.
It marks the first time that beef exports have been worth more to the Australian economy than crop products, which were worth 7.7 billion U.S. dollars.
The growth of the agricultural export market, up from 33.4 billion U.S. dollars in the financial year ending 2015, came despite widespread drought throughout Australia causing downturns in cotton (26 percent), wool (9 percent) and beef (13 percent) export volumes.
The Rural Bank report said that horticultural exports were the biggest improvers, up 30 percent in value to 1.58 billion U.S. dollars, led by the almond industry which has experienced a 337-percent in export growth in the past five years.
A growing appetite for Australian goods in China, best exhibited by the growth in table grape exports from 11 million U.S. dollars in 2014/2015 to 77 million U.S. dollars to China alone in 2015/2016, was largely responsible for the strong agricultural year.
Andrew Smith, general manager of agribusiness for the Rural Bank, said that there were even brighter prospects ahead as the Asian food boom escalated.
"There remain further opportunities in Asia outside our major trading partners in Japan and China," Smith told News Limited on Monday. "Indonesia, Vietnam and India all have huge populations,"
Other industries which shone in 2015-16 were wine, up 10 percent to 1.6 billion U.S. dollars, seafood which rose 10 percent to 1.06 billion U.S. dollars and prepared foods which rose 42 percent to 2.56 billion U.S. dollars.
China, the United States and Japan receive 39 percent of all Australian agri-food exports.