Ag’s Asian sales share falling
Australia’s peak agribusiness body has urged its members to work together to help arrest the nation’s falling productivity growth and declining share of Asian markets.
Speaking at the Agribusiness Australia annual meeting and dinner in Perth last week, the group’s president, Mark Allison, who is also chief executive of Elders Limited, said although Australia was producing more, its productivity growth had slowed in recent years.
Mr Allison said Australian agricultural exports had increased 5.2 per cent a year over the past 18 years.
Over the same period, the nominal value of global agricultural trade had increased 7 per cent a year.
This growth exceeded 14 per cent annually in Asian regions.
“Australia is losing market share where agricultural trade is growing most rapidly — the Asian region generally and particularly North Asia,” he said.
Meanwhile, Brazil, US, China, Indonesia, and other Latin American nations were experiencing rapid growth of trade to the Asian regions.
“Our international competitors are preparing to dominate our current and potential market opportunities by developing efficient infrastructure, adopting the latest technologies, providing streamlined government approaches and through low-cost labour,” Mr Allison said.
He said for Australia, efficient infrastructure, along with an increase in public R&D investment and collaboration with the private sector, was needed to help arrest falling productivity.
For this to happen, a better connection between Australia’s community and agriculture was vital.
“With two out of three Australians living in a capital city, the reality is most members of our community are not sufficiently concerned about, or don’t know about, our declining productivity due to underinvestment in R&D and ageing and limited infrastructure in order to pressure their political representatives to do anything about it,” Mr Allison said.