Ag’s Asian sales share fall­ing

Countryman - - NEWS - Jenne Bram­mer

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.

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