4632.0.55.001 - Discussion Paper: From Nature to the Table: Environmental-Economic Accounting for Agriculture, 2015-16 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/11/2017  First Issue
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This section presents the first experimental step in compiling Australian accounts for monetary measures in accordance with the SEEA AFF Framework. Some of the desired indicators within each account are not yet available and feedback is sought from users about the potential uses of these accounts, additional sources of data, and priority data gaps. See Approach taken and future plans section.


The monetary supply and use tables in SEEA AFF follow the basic supply and use principles from the System of National Accounts (SNA). Monetary supply and use tables record the flow of products in an economy between different economic units in monetary terms. They are compiled to describe the structure of an economy and the level of economic activity. The basic principle behind the tables is that all products supplied in monetary terms must be recorded as being “used”.

Supply occurs either through:

  • Production by industries (output) or
  • Importation from the rest of the world (imports).

Use can occur in a number of ways:
  • Used by other industries to make different products (intermediate consumption)
  • Consumed by households (household consumption)
  • Sold to the rest of the world (exports)
  • Held as or drawn from inventories for later use (changes to inventories)
  • To accumulate those assets used for the purpose of producing other products (these longer-term flows are known as gross fixed capital formation).

More detailed information can be found in Chapter 2 of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012 - Central Framework and Chapters 14 and 22 of the SNA (System of National Accounts 2008 (2008 SNA)).

Australian National Accounts: Input-Output Tables (Product Details), 2013-14 (cat. no. 5215.0.55.001) was the main source of data for the monetary supply and use account in this SEEA AFF discussion paper. For this experimental account, a few categories from the original Input Output tables have been merged to more closely align to other data presented in this paper (including the combined presentation tables). Some commodities have been excluded due to the scope of this discussion paper. The full set of 2014-15 Input Output tables have now been released by ABS and these data may be incorporated in future SEEA AFF based releases.


A number of agencies, such as the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, provide advice to the Australian Government on the economics of agriculture in Australia. Part of this advice involves examining the costs of production and the income generated from an expansion of agricultural produce sold domestically and around the world. The economic components of SEEA AFF highlight the role of complementary and competing imports. The Australian Government's document titled Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper contains an overarching policy vision of a more profitable, more resilient and more sustainable agriculture sector. It sets out a number of initiatives and goals, for example, reducing costs, promoting export market access, building infrastructure, creating well-paying jobs and maintaining access to high quality and affordable food for all Australians.

All of these goals may be informed in a monetary sense by extended environment accounts. In particular the extended production and income account may be useful in determining the major inputs to the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries when combined with its physical counterparts. A potential use is to highlight the relative significance of inputs such as water, energy, materials, fertilisers, pesticides and labour in monetary terms as these changes can be lined up with the value add for agriculture, forestry and fishing. The level of detail might also be expanded by incorporating information on the size and characteristics of economic units involved in these industries. Information on income by type of activity, for example, could be cross-classified by size of economic unit in terms of employment or production, or by the proportion of agricultural output exported. Incorporating such information would assist in understanding differences between economic units, and hence the effect of policies.

Agricultural economics influences food policy, agricultural policy, and environmental policy. In this way, linking production and environmental information can assist in informing policies such as water pollution, erosion, and disease prevention.


In a number of cases, the value of commodities purchased by households is different to the value of the output at the farm gate. There are a variety of potential points in the supply chain where this value change can occur, and can be detected for example in differences between wholesale and retail prices.

In the monetary flow account (Table 16 on the Downloads tab), output is the value of Australian production. This is the value at basic prices of goods and services that are produced in Australia. Margins capture the value of transporting, wholesaling and retailing a good between the producer and end user. If margins are greater than output, this means that the value of goods produced at the farm gate is less than the value of transporting and selling those goods to the consumer.

The monetary flow account shows that the margins for most fruit and vegetable commodities are higher than the output. In 2013-14, the value of apples was $953 million in comparison to an output of $460 million. Bananas also had a strong disparity between the output and margins, with a margin of $901 million and an output of $515 million.

Graph 1: Output and Margins Value ($m), Selected Fruit and Vegetable products, 2013-14

Graph 1: Output and Margins Value ($m), Selected Fruit and Vegetable products, 2013-14

(a) Cabbages, brussels sprouts, cauliflowers and headed broccoli

Many livestock products that have a high intermediate consumption value have low margins in comparison to their output. For example, the margin for beef cattle is $1,206 million in 2013-14, whilst output is $9,144 million, (see Graph 2). This is partly due to there being minimal trading between farms that breed livestock. Retail margins for meat products will mostly occur from the flow from the manufacturing industry rather than the agriculture industry.

Graph 2: Output and Margins Value ($m), Selected Livestock products, 2013-14

Graph 2: Output and Margins Value ($m), Selected Livestock products, 2013-14

(a) Includes calves.
(b) includes lambs.

Graph 3 shows how the flow of money between different agricultural industries may differ, using apples and beef cattle as an example. As a percentage of total supply, apples have a higher amount of household consumption, as well as low exports and intermediate consumption. In contrast beef cattle has low household consumption, but high intermediate consumption. This may indicate that a higher proportion of apples move directory from the farm to the retail industry for sale to final demand categories like households. In contrast, beef cattle for domestic use flows through to the manufacturing industry for slaughter, before being distributed to other industries such as retail.

Graph 3: Percentage of Intermediate Consumption, Household Consumption and Exports to total supply at Purchasers Prices, Apples and Beef Cattle, 2013-14

Graph 3: Percentage of Intermediate Consumption, Household Consumption and Exports to total supply at Purchasers Prices, Apples and Beef Cattle, 2013-14

(a) Includes calves.
(b) Most exports for beef cattle are live animal exports.


Australian National Accounts: Input-Output Tables (Product Details), (cat. no. 5215.0.55.001) was the main data source for the monetary supply and use account in this publication. The SEEA AFF account has a similar presentation and conceptual basis to the Input-Output tables in the SNA. Further work is required in order to further standardise the data between the monetary base accounts and the other SEEA AFF base accounts.

The presented monetary tables are primarily national totals. State or NRM equivalents are generally not published in official statistics. Physical flow data could potentially improve the quality of detailed product level monetary estimates.

The SEEA AFF extended production and income account was not presented in this publication but may be included in future releases. This account is based on the standard SNA production account and is extended to incorporate other information to provide a complete production function, such as the intermediate consumption of environmental inputs, fertilisers, cultivated biological resources and other assets.