Australian plant industries

Almost half of Australia’s is used for agriculture.

In the tropical and subtropical zones, crops grown include bananas, sugarcane, pineapples, mangoes and ginger amongst many others.

In the southern temperate zones, apples, pears and stone fruits, grapes, nuts, onions and potatoes can be cultivated.

Our vast areas with grassland climate are suited to broadacre production of grains, pulses, cotton, forestry, and pasture for livestock production.

Vegetables are grown in many areas of Australia, but including in and near urban areas.

Plant industries make a significant contribution to agricultural production and exports.

In 2016–17:

  • around 394 million hectares was farmed by 88,073 crop and livestock businesses
  • plant industries produced $33.5 billion worth of agricultural products
  • products of plant industries were worth more than $31 billion in exports.

Our exports include large quantities of grains (such as wheat, barley and canola) as well as sugar, wine, forestry, cotton and horticultural products.

The threat of pests and diseases

As with human health, protecting plants from pests and diseases is far more cost-effective than dealing with full-blown plant health emergencies.

Indeed, plant pests are often impossible to eradicate once they have become established and managing them is time consuming and expensive. Prevention is critical to avoid the devastating impact of pests and diseases on agriculture, livelihoods and food security.

How you can help

An incursion of a new pest that makes its way into Australia’s fields, orchards and plantations could jeopardise our agricultural production and trade.

Plant Health Australia is the national coordinator of the government–industry partnership for plant biosecurity in Australia, and custodian of the agreement that is used to manage the eradication response to incursions by exotic plant pests.

PHA members include 39 different industry organisations, all Australian governments, plant-related research and development corporations and other stakeholders.

The Industry section of the Plant Health Australia website profiles the many plant industries in Australia, their value, priority pests and activities to prepare for emergency responses.