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Dry bites into goat supply

21 March 2019

The Australian goatmeat industry has seen substantial growth over the past two decades, with production tripling since the turn of the century. While the prospects for exports are positive, challenges remain in key markets, as outlined in MLA’s latest Goatmeat global snapshot.

Key points

  • The value of Australian goatmeat exports totalled A$182.6 million in 2018, down 29% on the year prior, off the back of reduced supply.
  • Australia remains the largest exporter of goatmeat, despite accounting for only ~1% of global production.
  • A lack of familiarity, price competitiveness and volatile supply remain the key challenges for the industry.

Persistent dry conditions in 2018 saw Australian goatmeat production reduce by 26% on the year prior, totalling 23,400 tonnes carcase weight. According to NLIS data, NSW was the largest contributor to goat production, supplying over 60% of goats slaughtered in 2018.

According to Food and Agriculture Organisation data, Australia is not a large producer of goatmeat globally, but is the biggest player in the global goatmeat trade. Australia exported approximately 90% of production in 2018, with exports totalling 21,000 tonnes shipped weight, the lowest level since 2008 and 26% below 2017 levels, off the back of decreased supply. The US received 68% of Australian exports in 2018, with Taiwan, South Korea, Trinidad and Tobago, and Canada also representing important markets.

Live goat exports accounted for only 4% of total export value in 2018, totalling A$7.7 million. Despite easing, goat prices in Australia are still historically high, impacting live exports to the price-sensitive Malaysian market (Australia’s largest destination for live goats). Strong domestic goat prices have seen a marked decrease in live goat exports in the past few years, with exports down to 12,200 head in 2018 – a decrease of 75% from 2015 levels (87,700 head).

Goatmeat is widely consumed globally but remains a niche protein in many markets. Per capita consumption of goatmeat varies greatly between countries, with culture and local production being major factors influencing diet. Population growth and increasing household wealth underpin a positive outlook for global red meat consumption, though unfamiliarity and availability of goatmeat remain major barriers to new consumers.

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