Please take the time to read the latest Robinson Sewell Partners’ latest report written by Ian Joseph on how the current political armada in Asia is opening more doors to Australian Agribusiness.  Creating the trading bridge to Asia is just the introduction.  It’s the trading traffic to follow that creates the most financial and social excitement.

The recent visit by our Prime Minister Mr Tony Abbott and 600 leading business leaders across all industries shows just how important trade is to Australia, as well as with a population of just 23 million, how outward focussed our economy and thinking needs to be. Comparing this to China (1354M), Japan (127.6M) and Republic of Korea (50M) we begin to see just how great the opportunities are to all segments of our economy.  This is especially so for our own agricultural industries with other more neighbouring populous countries prioritising their food security, food supply and food quality as part of an urgent necessity feeding into a policy mandate that is critically important to their own viability.

In terms of relative populations, Australia punches well above its weight in terms of productive capacity.  Our 135,000 farmers produce most of what we consume domestically and the rest is exported to countries right around the world.  I believe that if we take advantage of the opportunities which are now before us, then we will participate in and contribute to world stability as it relates to food security and the social, environmental and economic dimensions of sustainability.

The recent delegation was a way for Australia to highlight many of the wonderful things we produce and the services we are able to offer our near neighbours and political friends. It also highlighted the growing awareness by our political and business leaders that if we can collaborate more, coordinate better and have a national approach and vision, then we will be able to participate in and benefit from the opportunities the Asian Century will bring.

We as a nation, are in a once in a life time position with the rest of the world wanting and needing our goods and services. We must, if we wish to participate, work closely with each other and with our trading partners.  It is becoming increasingly clear that as other countries see the value of our natural and economic resources, they will begin to move quickly and decisively to secure their own food supplies and future.  So some suggested actions and thoughts:

  • We must be able to demonstrate an understanding of the key motivators of our near neighbours and be nimble enough to continually adjust to expectations. (theirs and ours)
  • Our value proposition regarding quality, accessibility and responsiveness to critical issues must never be underestimated.
  • Industry must not wait for things to happen but must prepare for change, we know there is an insatiable demand for all we can produce, it is Australia’s responsibility to make and create the linkages.
  • Australia must better “cross-fertilise” ideas, activities and networks working towards an industry wide and national solution.
  • We must get our own “financial house” in order, understanding our capacity and capability to compete, participate and contribute to opportunities (a financial health check).

All who contribute to and benefit from our farming and agricultural endeavours must demand from government and business, a solutions based roadmap to achieve national coordinated solutions across all industries, with clear objectives, defined strategies and timely actions.

The role of trade cannot be underestimated in terms of local and global food security and Australia must in the “national interest” be open to more inventive ways to take advantage of the opportunities which are now presenting themselves.

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