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Agriculture Key to Australia's Role in Asia

30 October 2012

AUSTRALIA - Primary producers, agricultural businesses and regional communities will be big winners as Australia positions itself as a leading food and fibre supplier to the growing Asian marketplace in the Asian century.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, said the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper will strengthen our producers’ and processors’ global reputations as competitive, innovative and sustainable suppliers of high-quality food and agricultural products to Asia.

Australia will also play its part in ensuring food security in the region.

“The increasing demand among Asia’s middle class for high-quality food and agricultural products presents significant opportunities for Australia’s primary industries,” Minister Ludwig said.

“Between now and 2025 the Australian Government will put a series of grass roots programs, plans and policies into action to position our agriculture sector for the opportunities presented by our Asian neighbours. Much of this work has already begun.”

Minister Ludwig said Australia’s first National Food Plan would drive the changes necessary to support our food value chain domestically and capitalise on the growing potential for food producers and processors internationally.

“The Food Plan will focus on our food system from paddock to plate. That means ensuring consumers here have access to nutritious and affordable food, and that our food sector can make the most of the growing demand from consumers globally,” Minister Ludwig said.

“The Government’s new Rural Research and Development Strategy complements this work by boosting the productivity and sustainability of our primary industries through an ongoing commitment to R&D and increased collaboration, science and innovation.

“Ongoing reforms to Australia’s world class biosecurity system will also allow for more efficient movement of people and goods across our borders while maintaining the protections we need. This includes adopting a risk-based approach that manages threats effectively, while reducing impediments to legitimate trade and travel.”

The next steps to be taken by Government will focus on increasing participation in Asia’s markets and providing services to assist food and agricultural exporters.

The Government will support two-way investment with the Asian region in food and food processing, agriculture-related transport infrastructure, natural resource management and water conservation to help drive the development of Australia’s regional and remote areas, especially in Northern Australia and Tasmania.

“The White Paper looks to ensure our producers and processors can grow their businesses sustainably by making efficient use of our soil, water and energy,” Minister Ludwig said.

“We will also support primary producers by improving market access and promoting free trade through trade negotiations, existing inter-governmental agreements, government-to-government relationships and our overseas networks.”

The Australia in the Asian Century White Paper has a vision for Australia’s food production systems to be globally competitive, with productive and sustainable agriculture and food businesses.

“The release of the White Paper showcases the opportunities for Australia to benefit from the Asian century,” Minister Ludwig said.

“We will continue to work closely with key agricultural stakeholders to realise Australia’s vision for agriculture and food in the Asian century.”

National Farmers' Federation (NFF) President Jock Laurie said the recognition by the Government of the opportunity for agriculture in the Asian Century is a marked improvement on the earlier debate re the role Australia could play in the region.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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