AGRICULTURE Minister Leon Bignell says the state government is committed to ensuring SA’s agriculture industry continues to flourish in 2017.
Mr Bignell emphasised that SA is the only mainland state that is fruit fly-free, phylloxera-free and has banned genetically modified crops. He looked back on 2016, with its “unprecedented and extreme” weather events, saying it showed the true resilience and determination of farming communities.
“Agriculture has always been the backbone of the SA economy and it is one of our government's top economic priorities,” he said.
“Agriculture has always been the backbone of the SA economy and it is one of our government's top economic priorities."
“We have been working with the agricultural sector for years and we will continue to do that in 2017 and beyond.”
Mr Bignell recently announced a record of $18.64 billion in food and wine revenue – an increase of $433 million – with 3400 jobs created in this time.
“I am constantly impressed by the dedication and determination of the primary producers I meet when I visit the regions,” he said.
“I have a great deal of confidence in the future of our food and wine sector and believe record recent growth will continue.”
Mr Bignell called the growth in food manufacturing “phenomenal”, as it set the state apart worldwide.
“It takes vigilance, effort and a great deal of money to ensure we continue to uphold our international reputation,” he said.
“Much of that work comes from our farmers but the government, through the many divisions of PIRSA, also plays a vital role.”
He said SA’s graingrowers were having an excellent cropping year with the 2016-17 estimate of 10.5 million tonnes.
“This is worth about $2.2 billion at the farmgate,” he said.
“The late season rains also mean many areas will benefit from carryover moisture in the soil for next year’s crops.”
China Southern Airlines launched direct flights three times a week between Adelaide and Guangzhou in December, and Mr Bignell said SA produce will soon be in the cargo to be enjoyed by Chinese consumers.
“We want to get our dairy products and horticulture produce into Chinese markets,” he said.
“We produce some of the best cherries, nectarines and citrus. They'll love what we grow here in SA.”
He said SA needed a strong, diversified agribusiness sector which could weather the good and bad seasons for the long-term and the state government was doing everything it could to ensure SA agriculture continued to thrive.