With Australia’s inaugural AgDay held last week, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull highlighted the importance of the industry to the country.

He says the Government has been opening up opportunities for Australian exporters by reducing tariffs via free trade agreements.

Seventy-seven per cent of the $58.1 billion food and fibre produced by Australian farmers was exported in 2015-16, accounting for 15.3 per cent of Australia’s total goods and services exports.

Turnbull, who met with exporters and farmers at Flemington Markets in Sydney last week, says the Federal government has been doing all it can for potential exporters.

“We’ve signed a new free trade agreement in Peru,” Turnbull said.

“We had very little access to that market for our agricultural exports. Now 99 per cent of tariffs have been reduced – have been removed in terms of exports to Peru. You'll see fruit and vegetables heading over to South America in the future.”

According to the National Farmers’ Federation WA’s report Food, Fibre and Forestry Facts, released on November 21, WA has 8400 farms covering an area of almost 77 million hectares – almost 10 per cent of the country’s total farming area. In May, 36,300 people were employed in agriculture, forestry and fishing jobs in WA.

The country’s top agricultural exports last year were beef ($8.3b), wheat ($5.1b) and wool (43.3b).

National Farmers’ Federation President Fiona Simson says farming is a driving force of the Australian economy, generating 1.6 million jobs across the supply chain.

“It is also Australia’s fastest growing industry, up 23 per cent last financial year,” she says.

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