Did you know that every minute there are 158 new mouths to feed in the world? Well, according to Thos Gieskes, Chief Executive Officer of Rabobank Australia (and I count him as a pretty good source!). The world is evolving and growing at an exponential rate and agriculture must keep up to feed these new mouths.
There are no surprises that China is the nation leading this speed of change: “China has been transformed from a nation of farmers into an industrial powerhouse at 12 times the speed of the Industrial Revolution that began in the United Kingdom in the 1700s, and at 100 times the scale.” – Farmonline, 2014
. . . . and with growth comes increasing affluence and a heightening demand for higher quality food.
Australia has an abundance of land, a close proximity to Asia and a great reputation for high quality products. It’s considered to be in a perfect position to exploit these advantages, but Australian produce represents just 6% of Asia’s food imports, with Brazil at 10% and the USA at 21%! Global competition is serious, with other countries lining up to supply Asia’s emerging consumption needs.
Karen Schneider from ABARES (the Australian Bureau of Agricultural Resource Economics and Sciences) recently quoted; “one of the key things we’ll need to do to make the most of opportunities in global food markets is to maintain and lift our competitiveness through productivity improvements”.
So perhaps it’s impractical that Australia can be the food bowl of Asia, but if we expand scale and improve our capabilities we will be able to compete on a global scale and tap into the exponential opportunities.
“The markets and the opportunities of Asia are so vast that even if we doubled, tripled or quadrupled our production, in fruit and vegetables, in meat and groceries, we would still only be providing a fraction of the needs for food in our region. . . . the markets there are so vast and the opportunities are so great that there is unlimited potential for this industry.” – Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Australian Food & Grocery Forum
Improving our agricultural competitiveness is the key topic of conversation at our upcoming Maximising Agribusiness Competitiveness Conference on the 30th of June & 1st of July 2015. Check out all the speakers and topics of discussion here.