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SA’s primary industries continue to experience record-breaking growth: Scriven

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The Hon. Clare Scriven, Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development (SA), Media Release, 21 February 2023

South Australia’s primary industries and agribusinesses continue to set the pace and deliver solid growth as it emerges out of a series of challenges faced in recent years.

The release of the Primary Industries Scorecard 2021-22 illustrates the resilience of the sector in overcoming Covid 19, extreme weather, floods and bushfire events, the Russian invasion of Ukraine along with Chinese trade tensions to generate a revenue of $17.3 billion in 2021-22, an increase of 12% and accounting for 51% of the state’s merchandise exports. 

The main drivers of this increase were field crops and livestock industries with field crop revenue up 23% to $5.6 billion supported by strong grain export prices that eventuated from drought in some northern hemisphere grain growing regions, global supply chain constraints and the war in Ukraine. The value of livestock industry increased by 29% to $4.1 billion with favourable weather conditions and export prices contributing to the result. 

Such growth has resulted in a flow on effect to the contribution of primary production activity (agriculture, forestry, and fishing) to the State’s economy (Gross State Product), up by 26% totalling $7.6 billion. Total employment in primary industries and associated processing reached an estimated 71,000 jobs. With strong demand for additional workers across many agricultural and processing sectors, attracting, and training the workforce required for the future continues to be an important focus.

Overseas exports of agriculture, food, wine, and forestry products increased by 24%, totalling $7.5 billion, a major contributor being grain exports which increased by 59% in value to $3.8 billion.

Despite recent challenges posed by Chinese trade tensions with exports to that market falling by 35%, China remains the biggest overseas market accounting for 9% of the total food and agribusiness exports. Wine was the biggest sector to be affected by the ongoing Chinese market downturn with a decrease in total wine exports by 16% to $1.38 billion

The Scorecard includes the revenue, sales, exports and gross value production of primary industry sectors and associated processing such as field crops, livestock, horticulture, wine, seafood, dairy, forestry, wool, skins, seeds, and animal feed.

To view the Scorecard results including the online interactive dashboard visit

Quotes attributable to Clare Scriven:

Primary industries and agribusinesses are vital to South Australia and despite the challenges of recent years these results clearly demonstrate the sector’s resilience and significant contribution to the State’s economy. 

Increases in food commodity prices along with favourable seasonal conditions were very much a driver in the overall result, nevertheless some headwinds were experienced in 2021-22 with disruptions to global markets and supply chains, mostly caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and pandemic related lockdowns in China. 

While some of the global issues remain, along with inflationary pressures, the State Government remains cautiously optimistic that the growth and resilience of our primary industries and agribusiness continue into this coming financial year. 

Quotes attributable to Professor Simon Maddocks, Chair Primary Producers SA:

The scorecard results are an incredible achievement for the state’s agriculture sector, which has gone through incredible challenges in the past year, including floods and supply chain issues.

Our sector is directly exposed to a changing climate, but through innovation, technology adoption and improved productivity on-farm, we continue to be a major contributor to the State’s economy. 

Primary industry is at the core of the South Australian economy, underpinning our tourism, food, and wine sectors; giving the government the capacity to invest in other areas like health, education, events, and jobs. 

PPSA is proud to represent our state’s farmers and champion the significant contribution they make. 


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