Aussie farmer woes could spell higher exported food prices
Shortage of farm workers may slow output, affect exports to Asia: Study
SYDNEY - As Australia looks to meet Asia's rising demand for food, it has run into a new problem - a looming shortage of farm workers that could stymie production and raise prices for consumers in countries such as Singapore.
Australia has a rare opportunity to become a premium food "superpower" as the Asian century develops, Trade Minister Craig Emerson said at the annual Agricultural Outlook Conference in Canberra earlier this month.
But it needs to step up its farm production if it is to tap into the A$416 billion (S$540 billion) rise in world agrifood trade by 2050, and particularly the demand from Asia, said a study released at the annual Agricultural Outlook Conference in Canberra earlier this month.
Asian meat imports, expected to go up by A$150 billion, will be a key part of the 150 per cent growth in the food sector, according to the study by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (Abares).
We are limited by our environmental circumstances. You cannot make it rain more than it does. The Asian century will provide opportunities but to meet them, we have to improve production.
- Mr Jock Laurie, president of Australia's National Farmers' Federation