Wheat group submissions sought

20 Mar, 2008 05:26 PM
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THE Wheat Industry Expert Group (WIEG) is seeking feedback on a new communication tool for the Australian grains industry, which could provide critical, timely and independent information on the ongoing performance of the nation’s wheat crop.

The new service is expected to be similar to the regular crop reports issued by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Its reports are widely regarded as a key industry tool and provide vital information of the size and performance of the world’s crop supplies.

The reports also detail stocks to demand ratios and the timing of the world’s grain production.

Although the proposed new Australian service is expected to be primarily focused on the national crop it could become a critical the USDA’s reports that guide farmers and other grain industry members with decision making.

News of the service comes after the WIEG released its industry discussion paper last week.

The paper suggests how industry development functions, previously known as industry good functions under the AWB’s management of the single desk, will be re-distributed under the Australian Government’s new wheat marketing reforms.

Federal Agriculture Minister Tony Burke established the WIEG in January to advise him on the delivery of the key industry functions.

They include wheat research and development, variety classification, receival standards, promotion and trade advocacy.

The Government’s process will ensure these industry services are retained during the implementation of the ALP’s new wheat marketing legislation which is expected to be passed in Parliament by July 1, in time for next harvest. W

IEG Chairman John Crosby said all interested industry stakeholders, including farmers, should comment on the discussion paper.

“The paper considers a range of key functions and services for the industry, many of which will no longer be provided by the current single desk holder, AWB International, under the Government’s proposed reforms to the wheat marketing arrangements,” Mr Crosby said.

“Importantly, the paper assesses each development function against criteria including options for delivery, the Government’s role, transitional issues and the necessity of each development function.

“Everyone in the industry with an interest in the delivery of these functions should read the discussion paper and consider making a submission.”

Mr Crosby said some of the functions, such as research and development and variety classification, would be easy to assign to a new home because there was an obvious replacement such as the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

He said other functions such as receival standards, promotion and trade advocacy, would be handled by the market place.

Submissions close on March 27 and will be made public on the WIEG’s website as they are received.

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