A NEW report from the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC) has suggested that the Australian barley industry should diversify its markets while continuing to engage with Chinese brewers and maltsters.
The report, titled Barley 2030: Anticipated trends in global barley consumption, summarises important barley markets for Australia and makes recommendations to maximise value for the industry.
AEGIC barley markets manager Mary Raynes said it was important for Australian barley growers to have access to a diversity of markets to reduce reliance on a single dominant buyer.
"We are recommending that the Australian industry, supported by government, should identify alternative market opportunities," Ms Raynes said.
"This will involve detailed market analysis, including the value and volume of opportunity, the suitability of Australian barley for key end uses in malt and feed, and any market access constraints".
Some potential and current market opportunities for Australian barley include India, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Korea, South East Asia and the Middle East/North Africa.
Ms Raynes said it was important for Australia to stay connected with Chinese maltsters and brewers, despite the current tariffs.
"China is by far the largest importer of malting barley globally and will remain so towards 2030," she said.
"There are strong mutual benefits to continued engagement with China, Chinese barley users will be more likely to quickly start buying Australian barley - particularly malting barley - again if tariffs are lifted, because they will remain informed about the malting and brewing quality aspects of new Australian barley varieties, research, and market developments.
"The Australian industry will also remain mindful of the needs of Chinese brewers and maltsters when making breeding and classification decisions."
Ms Raynes said Australia would also need to maintain and grow its presence in important malting markets outside China, most notably India and Vietnam.