According to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), agricultural exports to China have doubled in five years to represent $7.3b in 2013.
The report states that the surge in demand is driven largely by the increase consumption of high-value products such as beef, lamb and dairy goods.
However, agriculture minister, Barnaby Joyce has warned that Australia needs to produce high quality products and continue to innovate in order to keep demand high, or risk losing the market to competing nations. He also stated that Australia can’t rely on is geographical proximity to China as a selling point, News.com.au reports.
"It's not right that we think because we are here we are going to prevail," said Joyce at an ABARES conference in Canberra.
"We have to be here with the best product, the right prices, it has got to be quality or it won't sell."
Executive director of ABARES, Karen Schneider agreed with Joyce stating that while Asia provides a prime opportunity for Australian agriculture, global competition is still high and that Australia needs to increase productivity growth to remain competitive.
"That (productivity) will define the future success of Australian agriculture," she said.
The ABARES reports found that Australian exports of veal and beef reached $406m last year compared to only $10m in 2007-08, while fruit exports increased by $20m to a total of $28m over the same period.
ABARES attributes the surge in demand to China’s growing middle glass, who are demanding more Western-style foods, coupled with Australia’s reputation for clean and green food production.