SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — The government of Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has issued a permit for a single shipment of bulk wheat from Canada to be processed for the domestic market. If the transaction occurs, it would mark the first time in 12 years that Australia has imported wheat.

According to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, the shipment remains subject to strict conditions to manage any biosecurity risk.

“The import conditions require that the grain is sourced from areas assessed as presenting a low plant and animal biosecurity risk and impose strict movement, storage and processing controls within Australia,” the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources said.

The shipment is expected to arrive in Australia in the next six to eight weeks.

Australia’s need for wheat comes on the heels of a drought across the country. The Australia Bureau of Agricultural and Resources Economics and Sciences (ABARES) in a March 4 report said wheat production in Australia during the drought-plagued 2018-19 season totaled 17.3 million tonnes, which was the smallest crop in a decade for the world’s fourth largest wheat exporter.

The decline in production in 2018-19 was due to a drought that affected New South Wales and Queensland, two of the biggest grain-producing states in Australia.

Australia’s 10-year average for wheat production is 24.4 million tonnes, ABARES noted.

Looking ahead to 2019-20, ABARES forecast wheat production to increase 38%, to 23.9 million tonnes.