SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — One shipment of imported bulk wheat from Canada arrived in Australia and according to the government of Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources it is subject to strict transport and processing conditions to manage biosecurity risks.

It is the first time in 12 years that Australia has imported wheat.

On May 14, the government of Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources issued a permit for a single shipment of bulk wheat from Canada to be processed for the domestic market.

Prior to issuing the import permit, the department conducted an assessment of the potential biosecurity risks associated with the entire import pathway.

“The importer is also required to meet a range of comprehensive, strict biosecurity requirements that are in place for imports of bulk grain,” the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources said. “The shipment will be securely transported from the point of discharge through to the point of processing.”

The department noted the import will then be stored and processed under biosecurity control at a facility approved by the department.

The department said it is satisfied that the conditions imposed through the import permit effectively manage any potential biosecurity risks.

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.