Diversity benefits producers: Colbeck

28 Aug, 2014 02:00 AM
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Australia is not the food bowl of Asia

MARKET diversification and competition will see higher returns to farmers, according to Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture and Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck.

Mr Colbeck, who was visiting WA to speak at a forum last week, told Farm Weekly said an increase in protein consumption was driving demand and creating the opportunity for Australia to diversify and grow its markets.

"Diversity of markets is important, so you can actually demand a price - that's why all these markets opening up are a good thing," he said.

Mr Colbeck told producers at the WAFarmers Future Opportunities for Beef Forum in Busselton that producers needed to be mindful of their production growth.

"If we double our production across the board by 2050, we will feed the whole of Australia and only 1.3 per cent of Asia," Mr Colbeck said.

"Australia is not the food bowl of Asia - it's a capacity thing.

"We need to understand that - but that doesn't mean there aren't opportunities, because there are significant markets out there.

"We just need to make sure we tailor our offerings to the markets ... and make sure we can grow productivity so we can continue to meet the markets."

Mr Colbeck hoped that Australia would continue to have a good reputation in quality and safety.

"I think we will see more Australian red meat products in Asian supermarkets, because of the good reputation we have in these markets - it's an advantage for us," Mr Colbeck said.

"We need to take advantage of that, and we need to stress that we need to maintain our food quality and safety regime, so we don't end up with a potential hit to our reputation.

"I hope productivity growth is up, and we are seeing higher returns to farmers because of the range of markets and competition."

Mr Colbeck said the industry should continue to grow and in doing so would get more efficient and Australia's outputs would improve.

"It's for industry to work on, it's good that they are aware of it and talking about it, that means they are in a position to start working on it," Mr Colbeck said.

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Farm Diversity
5/09/2014 7:48:50 AM, on Farm Weekly

To investigate 100 options for diversifying your farming enterprise visit www.farmdiversity.com.au

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