Primary industry and fisheries – an economic overview

Methodology for the calculation of production values

The production values estimated in this publication are calculated at the point of production, not at the point of sale and are based on a farm‑gate price (minus marketing costs). In the case of Territory fisheries, the farm‑gate price is the onboard or landed price. The Australian Government‑managed Northern Prawn Fishery (Territory catch only) (NPF) production value is based on an Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) export price.

Marketing costs are the cost of moving agricultural and fishery commodities from the point of production (on the farm or fishing vessel) to the point of sale (the market place). These costs include, but are not limited to, freight, cost of containers, commissions, insurance, storage, handling, weighing, yard fees and other fees or charges incurred by the producer in delivering commodities to the market place.

Outputs and values reported in this publication were obtained with the assistance of the Northern Territory (NT) Farmers’ Association, Crocodile Farmers Association of the NT, Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Australian Fisheries Management Authority, ABS and ABARES.

Contribution of industry to sector production value

Primary industry and fisheries in the Territory include cattle (interstate movements and live export), other livestock (buffalo, crocodiles, horses, camels, donkeys and goats), horticulture (fruits, vegetables, nursery, cut flowers and turf), and mixed farming (hay and forestry). The fisheries industry comprises harvesting of wild catch (including the Australian Government‑managed NPF) and aquaculture. A substantial recreational fishing sector generates tourism activity and provides lifestyle amenity.

The relative contribution of each industry to the primary industry and fisheries total is illustrated in Figure 3, with cattle, horticulture and fisheries being the major sectors. These output and values originate from the department’s data collections and are presented in Table 3. The annual performance of the Territory’s major commodities by sector is presented in Table 4.

In 2018‑19, the total estimated value of Territory primary industry and fisheries production was $1265.9 million (Table 3), an increase of 22.4 per cent over the previous year. This result reflected positive production results and market conditions. This increase is primarily due to a 36.2 per cent rise in the value of cattle production to $823.5 million (mainly due to interstate movements and, to a lesser degree, live exports), an 8.4 per cent increase in fisheries value of production to $119.8 million (driven by aquaculture), a 3 per cent increase in other livestock production value (mainly crocodile and buffalo production) to $33.8 million, and a 6.5 per cent growth in the value of mixed farming output to $37.6 million (driven by hay production and Tiwi woodchip exports), while the value of horticultural production rose to $251.2 million, a 0.1 per cent increase on 2017‑18.

Cow head icon
Forestry icon
Fish icon
Mixed farming
Tractor icon
Other livestock
Crocodile icon


Figure 3: Contribution of industry to sector production value, 2018 19

Territory primary industry and fisheries have significant links to other sectors of the local economy, such as manufacturing, transport and storage, retail and wholesale trade. These industries are vital in regional areas, providing economic stimulus and employment for approximately 1,791 people in 2018‑19 (ABS). This represents 1.3 per cent of the estimated workforce in the Territory. This labour force estimate is subject to a sampling variability and results can be volatile.

Primary industry and fisheries also account for a significant proportion of the Territory’s non‑mineral export revenue. These industries comprised 2.7 per cent of Territory GSP in 2018‑19. This is just below the total primary industry and fisheries contribution (of all states and territories) to Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP) of 2.5 per cent (Figure 4).

Exports of Territory primary industry and fisheries outputs are dominated by live cattle exports (mainly to Indonesia), fisheries, horticulture, forestry and, to a lesser extent, agriculture services.

Figure 4: States and territories – agriculture and fisheries contribution to GSP, 2018‑19

Figure 4: States and territories – agriculture and fisheries contribution to GSP, 2018‑19

Figure 5: Agricultural and fishing areas in the Territory

Figure 5: Agricultural and fishing areas in the Territory

Source: Department of Treasury and Finance

Last updated: 01 December 2020

Give feedback about this page.

Share this page:

URL copied!