Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston has launched a comprehensive strategy to double the value of the Western Australian grains industry over the next decade.
The WA Grains Industry Strategy 2025+, which was unveiled at the 2015 WA Agribusiness Crop Updates, was prepared by the Grain Industry Association of Western Australia Inc (GIWA) following extensive consultation over a nine month period and input from the state’s grain industry.
The strategy comprises eight industry wide actions, as well as a raft of specific recommendations for the main grain commodities grown in WA; wheat, barley, oats, oilseeds and pulses.
Mr Baston said the strategy embodied a bold vision as to how it would expand the industry to ensure sustainability and prosperity for future generations.
“By 2025, the world’s population is forecast to increase by one billion and this will require a 30 per cent increase in global grain production,” he said in a media release.
“Most of this demand is expected to come from Asia with a rising middle class, providing the WA grains industry with a unique opportunity to become a preferred supplier to this rapidly growing market. So it’s important for the industry to have a comprehensive strategy to make the most of this opportunity.”
He said the State Government was fully committed to supporting the industry to achieve the strategy’s goal.
“The State Government has injected $30 million into the grains industry via the eConnected Grainbelt and the Boosting Grains Research and Development projects, as well as a further $20 million to the Boosting Biosecurity Defences project, all led by the Department of Agriculture and Food,” said Mr Baston.
“These investments will support work by the GIWA, other industry organisations, and farm and other businesses in the grains industry to continue to improve its profitability and competitiveness in international markets.”
Commenting on the launch of the strategy, the Chairman of the Grain Industry Association of WA Inc (GIWA) Mr Sean Powell, said the future was bright for WA’s grains industry.
“It is not inconceivable that by 2025 we may be looking at an annual Western Australian grain crop approaching 20 million tonnes, valued at around $10 billion,” he said.
“Furthermore the industry is poised to see increased returns from investments in the WA grains value chain and in value-adding ventures on and off shore, capitalising on the growing middle class in Asia, as well as our traditional markets in north-east Asia and the Middle East.”
Mr Powell also paid tribute to the many voluntary and consultative hours given by people from across the entire WA grains value chain over the past 9 months in developing the strategy.
“This is the first time such a comprehensive strategy has been developed for the WA grains industry, which accounts for around 50% of the farm gate value of agriculture in the state, and around 40% of the value of grain exports from Australia”, he said.
“Many of these actions require industry to step up and take the lead, recognising that in some areas there is still a role for the support of government departments and agencies.”