Industry strengths and capabilities

A strong industry backed by strict regulations

NSW is a key part of the Australian 'food bowl', with a substantial amount of the nation's food and agricultural goods produced in the state. NSW is home to around 47,000 agricultural businesses, 1,100 aquaculture and fishing businesses and more than 3,800 food and beverage processing companies.

Overall, around 150,000 people were directly employed in the agriculture and food and beverage processing sector in 2015-16, with more than half working in growing and farming industries.

The state's versatile agriculture and food sector includes:

  • livestock industries such as cattle, poultry, pigs and sheep
  • wine, grape and juice industries
  • fruits and vegetables
  • cereal and legume crops such as wheat barley, canola, rice and chickpeas
  • aquaculture and seafood
  • food manufacturers and processors that produce both perishable and non-perishable goods.

Leading companies and brands operating in NSW include Sanitarium, Norco, Sunrice, the Sydney Fish Market and GrainCorp.

The state is also home to a booming viticulture industry. The Hunter Valley, just 1.5 hours from Sydney, was named one of the world's top 10 best wine travel destinations by the American publications, Wine Enthusiast Magazine. The NSW Government works closely with the NSW Wine Industry Association, regional wine associations and individual wineries to encourage the sustainable and profitable development of this industry.


NSW offers an ideal environment for agriculture and food production thanks to its stringent quarantine policies, sound management practices and strict environmental controls, which ensure the state is free of many pests and diseases found in other parts of the world.

NSW Food Authority runs the NSW's world-class food safety regulatory system to ensure the safe supply of food to domestic and export markets: The Food Authority:

  • is Australia's first completely integrated or 'through-chain' food regulatory agency
  • is responsible for food safety across the entire food industry, from primary production to point-of-sale
  • provides high-level, science-based food safety information and access to leading expertise