AUSTRALIA’S red meat and livestock industry must continue to unite along the supply chain to improve sector profitability and productivity, Meat & Livestock Australia managing director Jason Strong said this week.
MLA’s State of the Industry Report 2021 said the Australian red meat and livestock industry’s ability to adapt and respond to significant challenges over the past 12 months has positioned it strongly in the global market.
The report said that in 2019-20, Australia’s red meat and livestock industry employed about 445,000 people and had a turnover of $69.9 billion, up 5 percent on revised 2018-19 figures.
The report said Australia is the largest sheep meat exporter and the second largest beef exporter, behind Brazil.
The nation’s red meat and livestock exports totalled about $18.4 billion in 2019-20, an increase of 11pc year-on-year and 23pc higher than 2015-16 levels.
Mr Strong said the industry overall was in fantastic shape with minimal disruptions through the global pandemic thanks to years of innovation and hard work from red meat producers.
“Over many years we have worked on improving what we do, building relationships and diversifying our red meat markets which meant as the impact of the global pandemic arose, we were able to ride it out with minimal disruptions to export volumes and values, especially relative to other industries.
“Much of the commentary about consumers declining commitment to red meat is overblown and out of context. Australian red meat continues to be recognised as a high-quality protein of choice across the globe,” Mr Strong said.
“We have a premium product with a first-rate reputation that consumers are willing to pay top dollar for which puts us in a unique position and allows the industry to strive towards the ambitious goal to double the value of red meat sales by 2030.”
The report said that over the past 20 years, total global consumption of meat has been steadily increasing at an average annual rate of 1pc for beef, 2pc for sheep meat, 1pc for pork and 5pc for poultry.
Mr Strong said MLA’s job is to find the most discerning consumers in Australia and around the world and make sure they continue to be excited to eat Australia’s meat products; “getting people comfortable with the fact that Australian red meat is a high value, premium product should remain our focus.”
“The combination of both value and consumption volumes contribute to the success of our industry.
“It is crucial that the red meat and livestock industry continues to unite right across the supply chain to further improve the productivity and profitability of the entire sector. We have a very exciting future ahead,” Mr Strong said.
Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud said the red meat and livestock industry is of great importance to Australia.
“The industry has demonstrated resilience over the past few years dealing with drought, floods, bushfires and now COVID.
“And this report is a great reflection of the beef, sheep and goat industry’s sheer determination of continuing to get on with the job of producing the world’s best livestock,” he said.
“The entire red meat industry is critical to regional Australia with 90 per cent of the 445,000 employees living in regional locations.
“The Australian Government continues to stand by the industry, providing matching research and development funding to Meat and Livestock Australia and working closely with the industry on market access and development opportunities.”
The State of the Industry Report provides an overview of Australia’s red meat and livestock industry, including figures on production, consumption, exports, the economic significance of the industry, attitudes to red meat and key issue snapshots.
Click here to view a copy of the State of the Industry Report 2021.