Of the 64,768 square kilometres covered by the Tablelands Regional Council local government area, approximately 6,000 square kilometres is used for prime agricultural production, with most of the region’s agricultural activity occurring on the elevated, eastern highlands – from Julatten in the north, to Dimbulah in the west and to Ravenshoe in the south.
Water, soils and diverse growing conditions have sustained development of a diverse range of agricultural and horticultural cropping operations including plant and animal industries and production of both tropical and subtropical crops of which 39 large agricultural industries have been identified.
Agriculture is the largest contributor to the regional economy, realising a Gross Value of Production (GVP) of over $404 million (2010/11 financial year) which is not inclusive of the value adding which occurs in food processing.
The 2010/11 GVP represents an increase of approximately 23% in the Atherton Tablelands agricultural sector over the previous seven years, when compared with similar estimates for the 2003/04 financial year. Furthermore, the value of Agriculture in the catchment of the region’s broader commercial centres, such as the Cape and Gulf, is in the order of $710 million.