skip to content
National Farmers' Federation

Home About NFF Media Centre Policy & Issues Farm Facts Commodities Our Members Our Partners

Major Commodities - Sugar


Still among the most efficient sugarcane and raw sugar producers in the world, Australia pioneered the development of the mechanised cane harvester (pictured).

Australia maintains its export competitiveness by continuing to adopt innovative and efficient practices, particularly through mechanisation, new farming techniques and diversification.

Ranking in the 'Top Five' of world exporters, Australian canegrowers have overcome many challenges - with highly-distorted world trade markets internationally, and with our widely variable climate domestically - to continue to produce a competitive, high-quality and dependable product.

Australian sugar: fast facts

  • Australian sugar is predominately grown in QLD, with this state accounting for 90 percent of
    Australia’s production. The remaining 10 percent is grown in NSW. There are 3,359 sugar farms in QLD and 374 in NSW.
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics, Agricultural Commodities 2009-2010, Catalogue No.7121.0

  • In 2009-10, the national production of sugar cane for crushing reached 31,235 million tonnes.
    QLD produced 29,330,000 tonnes, and NSW 1,905,000 tonnes.
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics, Agricultural Commodities 2009-2010, Catalogue No.7121.0

  • The area planted in Australia to sugar cane for crushing in 2009-10 was 389,000 hectares. 370,000 hectares were planted in QLD, 19,000 hectares in NSW.
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics, Agricultural Commodities 2009-2010, Catalogue No.7121.0

  • The sugar industry directly employs some 22,000 people and about 110,000 in ‘upstream’ and ‘downstream’ economic sectors dependent on the industry.
  • Australian Government, Sugar Research and Development Corporation, Australian Sugar
    Industry 2006.

  • The gross value of Australia’s sugar cane for crushing in 2009-10 equated to $1.38 billion.
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics, Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, 2009-2010, Catalogue No. 7503.0

  • The world’s principal sugar exporters in 2008-09 were Brazil, the European Union, Thailand, the United States and Australia.
  • ABARES, Australian Commodity Statistics, 2011.

  • In 2010-11, Australian sugar exports were worth $2,366 billion.
  • ABARES, Australian Commodity Statistics, 2011.

For more, view NFF Farm Facts 2012.

Further information

< Major Commodities