Agriculture is a major sector within the Townsville North Queensland economy, employing around 3,000 people (REMPLAN) and producing around $1 billion in gross production value annually.
Agricultural land in Townsville North Queensland occupies 85% of the region (13% is occupied by areas classified as conservation and natural environments). Of this, 77% is used for grazing native vegetation. The 1,604 farms calculated to be in the area in 2014-15 (ABS) make up 7% of all farm businesses in Queensland.
Sugarcane is the region’s major agricultural commodity, producing $543 million of gross value in 2015/16 followed by beef cattle ($291 million). Other significant regional agricultural commodities include various horticulture including melons, sweet corn, beans, mangoes, and pineapples.
Figure 3.1: Townsville North Queensland Agricultural Production (2015/16)
Source: ABS (2017)
North Queensland’s agricultural sector (including key sub-sectors of broad-acre, livestock, horticulture and aquaculture) represents significant growth opportunities for the region. The strong reputation for quality and safety of the region’s produce is driving demand from high growth international markets including China, the Middle East, South Asia and ASEAN.