Ambitious plan to lift grain production

06 Mar, 2015 01:00 AM
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Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston (left) and Grains Industry Association of WA chairman Sean Powell signal a decade of innovation and change as the WA Grains Industry Strategy 2025+ calls for production increases.
Growers play a major role in this strategy, we don't just plan something and tell them what to do.
Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston (left) and Grains Industry Association of WA chairman Sean Powell signal a decade of innovation and change as the WA Grains Industry Strategy 2025+ calls for production increases.

THE high costs standing between growers and profitability will be a major focus area as agriculture industry leaders take aim at doubling WA's grain production to 20 million tonnes by 2025.

Under the Grain Industry Association of WA's (GIWA) new WA Grains Industry Strategy 2025+, the 2009 Strategic Grain Network Review (SGNR) will need to be thrown out and the needs of the industry re-examined.

The report indicates the SGNR is outdated and to meet goals set out in the strategy a clear pathway, that is the least-cost pathway to export grain from WA, will be needed.

At the launch of the WA Grains Industry Strategy 2025+, Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston identified red tape and unneccesary costs, such as high frieght costs, were a hindrance to growers being able to help achieve the industry goals.

"Growers play a major role in this strategy, we don't just plan something and tell them what to do," he said.

"Growers have to be able to grow with our plans.

"It's still the most efficient way of shifting bulk commodities and it's still very important."

Mr Baston said while the Tier 3 debate currently plaguing progress was a matter for his colleague, Transport Minister Dean Nalder, infrastructure was an important consideration for him.

"I have nations that come to me asking how secure it is to get their grain out of WA and they're talking about the ports," he said.

"It's important that we continue to move with the times.

"You either upgrade the rail or the road in our circumstance, but in some cases road will continue to be used."

Mr Baston said red tape surrounding vehicle registrations was another frustration for growers that he would address.

He said the recent land tax reforms would be helpful in reducing cost by creating exemptions for those operating in non-rural classified areas, directly benefiting both horticulture and other primary producers.

"Every now and again we've got to refocus and 2025 is goal for saying we're going to double our production," he said.

"Of course there is a demand for increase in food as the world's population grows and we're a nation that has plenty of room and we can achieve those goals."

Mr Baston said WA's position, close to Asia and with a natural biosecurity barrier from the rest of the country created the State's reputation for good, clean and safe food.

"The rest of the world has acknowledged that and they're looking at us for a market," he said.

GIWA chairman Sean Powell said "it is not inconceivable that by 2025 we may be looking at an annual WA grain crop approaching 20mt, valued at around $10 billion".

Mr Powell said the eight strategy initiatives, including the least-cost pathway analysis for grain transport and reduction of red tape, were the keys to achieving production goals

These initiatives were developed through consultation with the entire grains value chain over the past nine months and includes grain commodity specific recommendations.

"Some parts of the industry are already investing in these actions, and I look forward to working with the entire indutry over the next deace to 2025 to achieve the abitious goal of doubling the value of the State's grain industry," he said.

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