2014: Food on China's plate

06 Jan, 2015 01:00 AM
Comments
0
 
Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb notched up plenty of frequent flyer points in his quest to improve the China-Australia trade relationship in 2014.
Australia's proximity to a colossal demand for food in China was showing clearly our export charts
Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb notched up plenty of frequent flyer points in his quest to improve the China-Australia trade relationship in 2014.

AS the new year unfolds, we take a look back at the issues that defined agriculture in 2014. This week, the industry's developing relationship with the booming China market:


China opportunities need to be handled well

WITH increased pressure on local markets, rising inputs costs, infrastructure woes and drought’s iron grip tightening, Australia’s primary producers were looking for hope in 2014 – and they found it in China.

Australian Bureau of Agricultural Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) executive director Karen Schneider told the annual ABARES Outlook Conference in March Australia’s market growth opportunities in China look almost too good to be true. That may well be the reality if producers and exporters are not alert to other big food producers lining up to service Asia's emerging consumption needs.

And while Australian grain growers were looking at the insane growth statistics coming out of Asia in terms of grain consumption and counting the potential dollars, other key grain production zones signalled ambitions to break into the market as well.

Deli, not food bowl

Following some headline-making stories in the first half of the year about the collapse of food processing ventures, Deloitte released a report in the Building the Lucky Country series saying early talk about Australia being the "food bowl" of Asia was impractical, because Australia can only ever provide a fraction of Asia's food requirements - and float ed the idea of being "Asia's delicatessen".

Prime Minister Tony Abbott also agreed Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce was “absolutely right” in declaring Australia’s practical inability to become Asia’s future food bowl.

Chief executive of Rabobank Australia and New Zealand Thos Gieskes told the NTCA conference in April Australia's proximity to a colossal, and growing, demand for food in China was showing clearly on our export charts, which are now clearly dominated by shipments to Asia.

China has been transformed from a nation of farmers into an industrial powerhouse at 12 times the speed of the Industrial Revolution that began in the United Kingdom in the 1700s, and at 100 times the scale.

The world is changing at an extraordinary pace, Mr Gieskes said, and agriculture is being caught up in massive global shifts.

ChAFTA a 'win for farmers' - but not all good news

Grains, dairy, processing and live export were all in play in 2014 ahead of the much vaunted China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), signed in November. National Farmers' Federation president Brent Finlay said the ChAFTA represented a “cracking agreement” that surpassed expectations for dairy, beef, sheepmeat and horticulture.

At the Global Grains Asia conference in Singapore, Pablo Altuna, senior grains manager with Toepfer, said increased Chinese demand was making sorghum more and more attractive for growers across the globe. Later in the year, news broke that an agreement on biosecurity protocols underpinning Australian live cattle exports to China was inching closer towards resolution, which would open a potentially lucrative market opportunity for local producers.

But amidst all the good news, market strategist David Thomason was warning Australian food processors were unlikely to be significant players in the booming Asian Century marketplace unless their processing operations are actually in Asia, and agribusiness banker Ian Perry said the recent boom in export meat, grain and dairy sales to Asia threatened to blinker our ability to think ahead about how Australian trade initiatives with the world's emerging economies will keep rewarding farmers in 20 or 30 years.

Meanwhile, wages for rural workers are rising in parts of Asia, with implications for how agriculture is conducted there, and for food imports and manufacturing.


Ag can't afford complacency

by ANDREW MARSHALL

AUSTRALIA'S market growth opportunities in China look almost too good to be true, and that may well be the reality if producers and exporters are not alert to other big food producers lining up to service Asia's emerging consumption needs. >>>Read more ...

Vying for a slice of Asia

by GREGOR HEARD

AUSTRALIA may look at the insane growth statistics coming out of Asia in terms of grain consumption and think it is sitting pretty, but other key grain production zones have ambitions to break into the market as well. >>>Read more ...

Ag's star to rise as mining fades

by MATTHEW CAWOOD

THE run of news about Australia's food processing sector has been so gloomy, for so long, that a Deloitte forecast arguing for food processing as part of an agribusiness renaissance is a bit of a head-scratcher. >>>Read more ...

Ag must keep up with the pace

by MATTHEW CAWOOD

THE world is changing at an extraordinary pace, Thos Gieskes told the NTCA conference last week, and agriculture is being caught up in massive global shifts. >>>Read more ...

Sorghum's global demand grows

by GREGOR HEARD

INTERNATIONAL demand for sorghum is on the up, with China’s increased appetite for feed grain one of the key factors according to a senior grains executive at Toepfer International. >>>Read more ...

Processors need Asia rethink

by ANDREW MARSHALL

AUSTRALIAN food processors are unlikely to be significant players in the booming Asian Century marketplace unless their processing operations are actually in Asia says market strategist David Thomason. >>>Read more ...

Asian boom limiting agribusiness vision

by ANDREW MARSHALL

THE recent boom in export meat, grain and dairy sales to Asia threatens to blinker our ability to think ahead about how Australian trade initiatives with the world's emerging economies will keep rewarding farmers in 20 or 30 years. >>>Read more ...

Abbott dispels Asia's food bowl myth

by COLIN BETTLES

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott says Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce is “absolutely right” in declaring Australia’s practical inability to become Asia’s future food bowl. >>>Read more ...

Asia's rural pay rise

by MATTHEW CAWOOD

WAGES for rural workers are rising in parts of Asia, with implications for how agriculture is conducted there, and for food imports and manufacturing. >>>Read more ...

China live ex deal moves closer

by COLIN BETTLES

AN agreement on biosecurity protocols underpinning Australian live cattle exports to China is inching closer towards resolution, which would open a potentially lucrative market opportunity for local producers. >>>Read more ...

China deal a cracking win

by COLIN BETTLES

THE Australia-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) represents a “cracking agreement” that surpasses expectations for tariff reductions on four key farm exports, says National Farmers' Federation (NFF) president Brent Finlay. >>>Read more ...

FarmOnline

POST A COMMENT


Screen name *
Email address *
Remember me?
Comment *
 

COMMENTS

light grey arrow
I'm one of the people who want marijuana to be legalized, some city have been approved it but
light grey arrow
#blueysmegacarshowandcruise2019 10 years on Daniels Ute will be apart of another massive cause.
light grey arrow
Australia's live animal trade is nothing but a blood stained industry that suits those who